Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Salamanca.

Hung out in pretty Salamanca today. In the morning, I headed over to the University and spent a full 20 minutes looking for the famous frog sitting on top of the skull in the main building (legend has it, that if you can spot this figure on the University´s elaborately carved fa├žade [Ed note: you need to be handy with the zoom if you want to try to spot it in this picture], you'll get married within the year!--Hey, a girl can use all the help she can get. ;).---or, if you're already married, you get a lot of luck for a whole year instead...methinks to offset the misfortune of having gotten tricked into doing so in the first place, ha ha. Still, this frog thing´s not a bad legend for a handy pickup line, you see....;))

Afterwards, strolled over to take a look at the Roman bridge crossing the river Tormes, and which was featured in a rather famous Spanish literary work written by our friend Anonymous (who by the way also seems to like to appear a lot in the comments here as well, oddly enough...;)) called "Lazarillo de Tormes". If you get a chance to find this book, I heartily recommend it, it is a series of anecdotes told by a 10 or so year old boy, who worked as a guide for a very sagacious old blind man, and all the sorts of funny and curious adventures they got into.

By this bridge, of course, there is a statue dedicated to the two characters in this book. I have already noticed that there are many such kinds of statues in Spain, dedicated to fictional personages (countless ones to Don Quixote, for instance), and far more than those few of them dedicated to real people (which in Spain tend to be mostly simply writers, professors, or missionaries/priests/monks). What, doesn't Spain have any "real" heroes? (and I put "real" in quotes because everybody knows there is no such thing. What I meant by "real" was simply "a once-living person"). Sometimes, I don't know what´s worse: paying homage to things that never existed, or fictionalizing into glory things that did. {shrug}

Anyway, afterwards, I strolled over to admire the new cathedral, which is kind of neat, because although started back in 1513 and completed 220 (!) years later in 1733, it has a carving of an astronaut and an ice-cream cone near one of the entrances. How is this possible, you ask? Ha ha. Well, as it turns out, the material with which the exterior carvings were made is a rather soft stone, very prone to crumbling and chipping and general environmental wear and tear, so that there needs to be a lot of restoration work going on constantly. Back in 1999, and imaginative carving restorer decided to make his mark on the face instead, and carved these little figures, for the amusement of the viewer. I thought it was kind of cool, it does not much good, to always remain static and unchanging, architecture is art, and it should flow and evolve with the times. Still, at the cost of destroying the beauty of the old? You tell me.

1 comment:

Joseph B said...

the facade is beautiful!