June 9, 2014. Kind of unbelievable that I made it this far – not because I didn’t think I would, but because throughout this trip, this last day seemed like an impossible distance away; a mythical time; something that hovered on the horizon but didn’t actually exist, like the meeting point between the ocean and the sky.
Yet here it is, and I can’t help but feel a rush of mixed emotions. Already I’m nostalgic for Salamanca’s cobbled streets, its ancient and beautiful Plaza Mayor and its city walls of sun-kissed gold. Already I miss the wind that always set me shivering when I walked down the Rua Mayor at night, or the distinct quiet that fell across the old town when the sun finally, at 10 p.m., dipped below the horizon.
(Click on any of the photos to see in slideshow form.)
Nor is everything I’m thinking of poetic: The vending machine at Mester that dispensed pretty damned good coffee at 0.50 euro a cup; the warm afternoon breeze blowing into our classroom windows as everyone typed away at their stories; the sweet smile of our host mom, Patricia, and the meals she’d make us three times a day; the chupitos we shamelessly downed at La Chupiteria – lovingly known by all as “Chupis” – too many nights in a row.
And of course, there’s Madrid with its tall(er) buildings and endless parks and nameless outdoor restaurants, marked only by specific food memories: The bagel place; the place with the awesome coffee and super delicious tapas; the place where we went for café con Baileys; El Tigre, where they hand you a gigantic plate of (free) food for every drink you order.
And what is Madrid without the Metro, that giant, roaring, surprisingly punctual beast with the incessant tinny voice declaring, in Spanish, the next destination: “Proxima estación – Argüelles. Correspondencia con – linea trés.” Julia and I have had our fun with that constant proclamation, and I still think of her whenever I hear it.
Spain! It’s really hard to believe we’re leaving in just over 24 hours. I’m a sentimental sucker for beautiful places, and I think Salamanca/Madrid have most definitely had their way with me.
Click to see Part II of my end-of-Spain series!