It feels like the joke is on you. Salamanca University has gorgeous -- gothic structures and the historic downtown is likewise as beautiful.
But this is not really a vacation spot nor will you have much time for leisure. As beautiful as it is, Salamanca is truly a working city and a college town. There is no getting around that the great professors demand daily homework and hours long study periods of students. There are cobble stone streets and a beautiful old active town square -- Plaza Mayor shown here. Most serious students diligently wedge tourist fun into their busy schedules.
Salamanca overall is massive -- like a smaller scale Washington DC with millions more active pedestrians like Times Square all day long -- people everywhere. Many open boulevards like El Toro, are just for pedestrians, not motor vehicles. Focus on comfortable walking shoes. Taxis and busses are only on the periphery. Every type of activity branches out from the main square, Plaza Mayor, and there's lots to buy on El Toro Street.
Ok, my first concern for Spain in general is - are you Socialist Commercialism or Socialist American Consumerism?
What is this, anyway? Salamanca is chocked filled with stores. Not the familiar gym, tanning or laundry type places either, but chains -- clothing, makeup and mobile phone stores. Everywhere. Nonetheless, it is very nice to see the thriving environment for independent local businesses -- restaurants, gift shops, hardware stores, pharmacies and, of course, bakeries, cheese, meat shops and tapas bars. Maybe that's where the political talk about protecting "all for one" ideals take place.
Unfortunately, except for the luckiest tapas bars, Spain's economic depression has many stores empty of consumers most of the time. But this doesn't keep the Spanish entrepreneur from closing up shop for siesta--a daily afternoon sleep that makes Salamanca feel like an old-fashioned Sunday in America.
If students are balancing school work with shopping and a store has just what you want, try sneaking off during a break during business hours because it will likely be unavailable at times when you are used to shopping. And don't take a chance on Saturdays and Sundays because most stores are shut down then, too. Apparently, the Spanish appreciate their free time. Try your luck after 5pm weekdays.
After all of that juggling time on behalf of consumerism, you will have school obligations and quizzes each day. So plan your touring, party and shopping time wisely.