It’s officially summer! I finished exams today which means I have completed my semester studying at La Universidad de Salamanca. Now, I have that normal “post-exams feeling” where I don’t really know what to do with myself; I don’t need to procrastinate from the work I all of a sudden no longer have to do. I can just indulge in Netflix without feeling guilty, which seems a lot less wild than it felt a few days ago…
I posted about my Final Five Week To-Do List which as the title suggests, is a bucket list of things to keep me occupied with during my final weeks in the Golden City, which don’t involve Netflix. I can confirm I am doing well with checking things off – actually, I have done six out of a total of eight which is pretty impressive. All I have left is a revisit to the Casa Lis to see the Coco Chanel exhibition and pop into the General Archive of the Spanish Civil War next door. But today I want to talk about my visits this week to the Torres de la Catedral and also the Scala Coeli Torres de la Clerecia at the Universidad Pontifica de Salamanca.
Before tucking into my beautiful Chinese takeaway on Saturday evening whilst watching Eurovision (I was rooting for Italia if you were wondering), Becca and I headed out to climb up the Cathedral Tower at 8:30pm. We went up way back in February when it was freezing, so it was nice to go back when the weather was more forgiving and I actually came prepared with my camera. They have started allowing reserved access at specific times on weekend evenings for the summer season, which is worth knowing if you are only visiting for a few days..
We had a guided tour but I didn’t expect it to last so long! I was craving my duck pancakes the entire time…. We ended up missing most of the acts in Eurovision but arrived in time for the last seven and of course the voting. We learned that the climb up the tower is “una ascención de la tierra hasta el cielo” / an ascent from the ground towards the sky (in a spiritual sense) and that the climb allows us to get closer to God. It just reminded me of Danté’s journey from Inferno to Paradise but without the Inferno part, which is probably a good thing. Anyway, there are amazing views at sunset, so it was pretty cool:
The Torres de la Catedral in Salamanca, known as “Ieronimus” is a popular tourist destination in the city and is considered the best place to go to get a good view of the city according to TripAdvisor. However after climbing the Scala Coeli Torres de la Clerecia this afternoon at the Universidad Pontifica de Salamanca, opposite La Casa de las Conchas, I will have to contest this statement. For a similar price (3€) you have access to even better views where you can actually see the cathedral nearby.
Both the Scala Coeli Torres de la Clerecia and the Torres de la Catedral have similar priced entry fees (3€). There is more to see in the cathedral as you can see the interiors of both the Catedral Vieja (my favouite) and the Catedral Nueva (if you are wondering, there are two cathedrals joined together, not confusing at all). You can visit the cathedrals at ground level for a seperate price but if you just want to peek at the interior, it’s best to pay to go up the tower as you can get great views AND see inside the cathedral – 2 for 1.
There are interesting original manuscript collections in the cathedral and information about its history throughout the tour. I was able to test out my new knowledge of reading medieval French and Spanish texts from my History of the French Language class here, and it was cool to be able to put the skills to use because I don’t know where else I am going to use them for the time being.
The Scala Coeli Torres do offer some information but it feels a bit “forgotten in time,” and not a lot of effort has gone into the collections which are very spaced out, especially as we saw the interior of the chapel area which was cornered off and coated in dust. It just looked creepy, sad and neglected but must have looked magnificent “back in the day”. Still, the Scala Coeli Torres offer the best views in my opinion of Salamanca and it is worth the climb just for that. I enjoyed both visits but they each offer different experiences.