Though tired from our previous day of exploration, we embarked on our journey to Salamanca today. After packing our rooms, we promptly checked out and began packing our bus. Unlike our previous bus, the cellos with their hard cases could not all fit in the carriage, so we had to pack them into the seats of the bus. Nevertheless, we left sharply at 10:00am, and within a few minutes, the bus was filled with the sonorous snores of sleepy students! Along the way, we saw the change from city to countryside, with towering buildings changing to long, never-ending fields. From the few farms with cows, to the vast wheat fields, the scenery was breathtaking. Through the mountains we went to leave the beautiful city of Madrid, but we were greeted by this new and comforting change. We finally reached Hotel Horus in Salamanca, where we placed our bags, only to get back on the bus to travel to the center of Salamanca to explore and have lunch.
The city was quite different than Madrid, with cobblestone pathways adorning the shop-filled streets. A group of people, including myself, had lunch seated outside. Looking for jeta, a Salamanca special consisting of fried pig’s face, we asked the waiter whether they carried the specialty to which he replied yes. However, once we sat back down he explained how they miraculously ran out in the two minutes it took for us to sit down: we were tricked! Nevertheless we all enjoyed our meals: paella, lamb, steak, and a slue of other things. Disgruntled by not having jeta, we again disembarked through some backroads until we found the coveted food. You could get it for a surprising 1.10 euros, we were shocked by how cheap it was. However my excitement was short-lived. After taking the first crunchy bite, the pork cheek inside was salty and quite chewy – not to my taste. I am glad to have tried it once, but I am sad to say I probably will never eat it again.
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel. We were given some free time- some of us explored the hotel, and some of us got some sleep. After the afternoon of free time, the students and teachers congregated in the hotel dining room to have some dinner. We had una ensalada mixta (salad) with some pork and fries. Full from our dinner, the group decided to experience Salamanca in the nighttime. We returned to the old quarter, where we had lunch. However, we witnessed the beautiful light shows in the center of the quarter. The lights were projected onto the exterior of the buildings along to different tracks of music, highlighting the intricacies of the architecture: long ridged pillars, and tall stories. There were a series of light shows presented, each created by different artists from all over the world, from Colombia to Japan. Along with the light show, our quartet decided just before leaving the hotel to play on the streets surrounded by a magnificent, Medieval landscape. With our instruments, we found a spot next to the New Cathedral (“new” but built in the 17th century!), conveniently set up with lighting from the ground and street lamps, and began to play. We attracted a generous amount of people, playing sections of Schubert and Dvorak quartets from our concert repertoire. The experience was very fun. Though it was challenging to read my sheet music in the dark windy night, the informal setting of an audience purely constructed of a group of people walking by was a new and interesting experience as a performer.