Traveling the world

I love meeting new people, hearing (and sometimes speaking) different languages, eating foreign foods, seeing beautiful landscapes and visiting famous historical landmarks. To sum up, I love traveling. In my 20 years, Iíve been privileged enough to visit many of the 50 states and quite a few beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. When I was 17, I also studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain for about 5 weeks. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life thus far. But Iím nowhere near satisfied yet. Next spring Iím planning to study abroad in Argentina. After that, Iíd like to travel the rest of South America, as well as more of Spain, France, Greece and hopefully many more places.

Salamanca

Cathedral in Salamanca

Cathedral of Salamanca

Salamanca is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Itís located in western Spain, about three hours from Madrid and an hour from Portugalís border. Itís known as La Ciudad Dorada or the golden city because all the old sandstone buildings have acquired a golden glow over the centuries.The city is particularly beautiful at night.

Itís best known as the home of La Universidad de Salamanca which dates back to 1218 and is one of the oldest and most well known universities in Europe. Itís also a popular place for international students (like me) to learn Spanish. Due to the student population, Salamanca has an awesome nightlife, cultural opportunities and historical sites. I suppose you could describe it as the perfect Spanish college town.

The weather is beautiful in the early summer months and the city is the perfect size. Itís small enough to get to all the beautiful sites, restaurants, shops and bars on foot and still has large enough student and residential populations to give it a bigger city feel. There are plenty of tourist attractions and the locals are friendly, but Salamanca never feels tacky or too-trodden by travelers. It somehow retains the feeling of an authentic Spanish city.

Writing about Salamanca makes me realize how badly I want to go back. It also makes me feel like a horrible writer because I know Iím not doing the beauty, the culture or the excitement of the city justice.

If you go...

Plaza Mayor in Salamanca

Salamanca's Plaza Mayor

Make sure to spend as much time as possible in the Plaza Mayor, which my host mom described as the living room of Salamantinos. The Plaza Mayor is a classic Spanish city attraction, and nearly every larger city has one. It's usually located in a very central part of the city and the streets that branch off of it are home to tons of important monuments, shops and bars. Whether it is eating dinner, watching a show or simply sitting in the middle enjoying the surroundings, the Plaza Mayor is always an entertaining place to be. Make sure to walk around the university and have a guide tell you about the famous alumni and interesting traditions of graduates. Visit Casa del las Conchas, buy some deserts from the nuns at the Convento de las Duenas and walk through the stunning cathedral. Take my word for it, and plan a trip to Salamanca.