The Douro – Portugal’s River of Gold with Viking Cruises: Day 7

Salamanca Cathedral from the Clerecia Bell TowerToday was a reasonably early start as there was a nearly two hour journey from our berth at Vega de TerronBarca, crossing the Portuguese/Spanish border and on to the city of Salamanca.

Our journey was made all the more interesting by the narration our guide gave, highlighting not just scenic views but also places of interest such as the farms where bulls are bred for the Spanish bull fighting industry and the black pigs are bred – source of the famous ‘Pata Negra’ ham that we were about to sample later in the day.

Paza Mayor, SalamancaSalamanca, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site is described as a living museum: a description that is pretty accurate as we were to discover. Almost a journey back into the Middle Ages with a distinct cosmopolitan atmosphere provided by the large population of international students.

Our visit to Salamanca saw the normal format for a visit reversed: our free time to explore being taken on arrival. The reasons given for this was that Salamanca still adheres to ‘siesta’ time and shops would be closed had our normal routine been adhered to.

The Silver Travel bag in SalamancaWe were provided with a very comprehensive ‘Tourist’ street map with the majority of the most in-teresting sites well highlighted including the Roman Bridge, Old and New Cathedrals, the Gothic House of Shells, Plaza Mayor and the Central Market. 

On completion of our ‘free time’ our meeting point was the first class Hotel Alameda Palace where a traditional Paella lunch was the highlight followed by a traditional flamenco show.

Evening BBQ on deckOn completion of lunch we commenced the ‘official’ Viking guided walking tour: passengers being given the option of either a ‘relaxed’ or ‘energetic’ option. Each  group was hosted by a knowledge-able local English speaking guide.

Salamanca is a most interesting city to visit, steeped in history and definitely  worth a longer visit.

A nice surprise on return to the Viking hemming was to learn that that evening there was to be a traditional ‘Al Fresco’ deck BBQ in place of dinner in the restaurant.

The evening turned out to be a superb night, excellent BBQ and some good entertainment.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Viking River and Ocean Cruises

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Richard Okill

Retired naval officer & businessman

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