BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Bilbao to Salamanca. We may have a new favourite place.


We had a little reorganise of our gear today before we got going. We wheeled the bike out of reception at the hostel and started to pack. Somehow we ended up with a bottle of wine and half a bottle of Baileys to fit on the bike with all our other stuff.

Once that was complete and our panniers were bulging, we set our sights on Salamanca, about four hundred kilometres to the south west. Motorway time unfortunately. It was a pretty uneventful ride apart from being a bit cold. The road and terrain was a little boring after being spoilt in the mountains and snow for so long. In fact, it was a bit like riding back home. Long straight roads with farmland either side. At least we could sit on reasonable speeds for the trip.

 Leaving Bilbao.

 The traffic was hell.

 Just like home, but the hills are bigger.

Cool little village.

We rode into Salamanca and straight to the front door of our hotel. For forty euros a night we got a very nice room with a bath, free Wifi and breakfast. Check in was a bit of a laugh. MaTe (Maria Teresa) the manager spoke little English and there was lots of gesturing and pointing. The funniest part was when she gave us the code to get in the front door late at night. She showed us the card with a number on it, pointed to the front door and said "Bip, bip, bip, bip, barrrrrrrrrp" while making pushing button motions with her fingers. As we left to go and park the bike she said "You must learn some Spanish". We're only here for a couple of weeks or so, but seeing as it's our sixth visit to Spain, she may be right.

Meet our neighbour, Mrs Stork.
Penthouse with the best view in town.

Once we were sorted with the room we went exploring. Within a few minutes we found the Plaza Major. What a  fantastic place, and teeming with people at ten at night. The Christmas lights are still up in the streets and they made the scene as pretty as a picture.

We then made our way upstairs to the restaurant that MeTe recommended, Meson Cervantes. It was only about eight o'clock, so we were the first ones there and scored a window seat overlooking the Plaza. Brilliant. We enjoyed a great feed of five different Tapas, a bottle of wine, and a beer.

Unassuming entrance. 

 Interesting d├ęcor.

 First in best dressed.

Something different.
A plate of egg, potato, and eels.

 Suzanne tucks into some eels.

When we were done, and completely satisfied we asked for the bill. The total came to...wait for it...18.80 euros. I actually queried the bill as I though they may have forgotten to charge us for the bottle of wine and was politely told "No, that is correct sir. You get a free Tapas when you order a glass of wine." So I'm guessing if you order a bottle of wine you get four or five Tapas included? Whatever, I don't care. it was a really nice meal, and an absolute bargain.

We then went for a walk and did a lot of window shopping. Prices of things here are so cheap compared to back home. I might have to price up a container to ship home I think.

Here are a few shots for all you Imelda Marco wannabes...

All of these shoes were made of leather, not vinyl, and according to Suzanne they were very well made. I find it interesting that there is not a lot of stuff here that is made in China.

We came across a supermarket and stocked up on a few goodies. I also found a few things that were interesting, like..

 Cammo duct tape. Cool.

 A six pack of Heineken for 2.95.
OK, they are only 250 ml stubbies, but it's still cheap.

Mumm for 28.95.

When we got back to the hotel we immediately booked another night, and had a few drinks at the bar, along with a very long, deep and meaningful discussion about our previous lives.

Salamanca is a great place. It has all the cool and Spanish essence of Barcelona, but not the bright colours and noise. The people here are all very tastefully dressed in quality gear and make us look like homeless people in the clothes we're wearing. NO ONE wears sneakers or trainers. It's polished leather shoes or boots thank you. It's so cool to see an old couple in their eighties or nineties dressed to the nines in suites and fur coats out for a stroll in the Plaza.

Our plan of being in Gibraltar for the weekend is well and truly shot to pieces. It's not a problem though. Bilbao was really nice, but Salamanca is so good we have to stay another night, at least. 

It's our twenty second wedding anniversary tomorrow, and I can't think of a better place to spend it than here.

Cheers Salamanca.

Portagaff, me, Suzanne, and Nougat
on our wedding day.

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