We’ve had a great time so far in Salamanca! We started off the morning with a simple breakfast and headed over to check out the church tower we’d seen last night.

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The church turned out to be even bigger and more beautiful than we thought! Called the Santa Iglesia Basilica Catedral (Saint Church Basilica Cathedral), it’s actually two churches in one. It used to be a cathedral, and when they decided to build a new one, they just built it around the old one! We’re going to go back to visit the new section later this afternoon (being a Sunday morning, they were holding mass in there at the time) but we were able to go into the old section and climb into the towers.

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The view was incredible!

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This is looking north from the bell tower. Just after I took this picture, the bell started ringing about 3 feet above our heads! Thankfully it was a small bell, so we aren’t deaf, but that was quite the shock!

When we came back down, a procession was starting at the front of the church.

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Today is the 65th anniversary of this statue of Mary being sanctified, so the church was celebrating by parading her through the streets! It was a huge procession, with the statue draped in heavily embroidered velvet and placed on a huge silver platform with incense, flowers, and candles. There were several priests, the local bishop, and even a marching band in the procession! The congregation of the church walked behind it all; even the nuns came out into their balcony to have a look. It was very cool to be a part of it all!

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But we leave for Porto, Portugal tomorrow, so we had to leave the medieval city center for the far more modern neighborhoods. We bought our tickets and headed down the street to this lovely park for some lunch. It seems to be a very friendly space, with two playgrounds, an exercise areas for adults and a fountain designed for people to play in on warm days like today. There are lots of families with young children and dogs playing and laughing. If we weren’t on a schedule, we could easily spend the rest of the afternoon here! Alas, it’s time to move on and see what else Salamanca has to offer…

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