What’s with me and Universities?

I am in Salamanca, I did not let this November rain scare me and I got on the road again. Woke up, fell out of bed, did not drag a comb across my head, but turned my attention to the bell tower outside.

Look what I found on the bell tower outside my room this morning. I think it might be a stork.

There was a nest of what I believe are storks. Quite amazing that these birds find it cool to settle down bang in the middle of a city.

I wonder who’s baby it’s delivering today.

It was raining, but not badly, the hostel owner was wrong. He had told me that there was not going to be rain today.

#5 The internet is better than local people for weather forecasts.

Never mind, no wind meant that the red cape was not a problem and I ended up cycling thirty miles with it.

As I got out of Tordesillas I was forced into my first decision of the day. I was on a N road for a while and the traffic was very limited, coming up to the junction for Pollos the choice was to follow the plan I had hatched last night and choose the P road to Pollos, or to stay on the N road and go straight to Salamanca without risk of getting lost. Would it not be much easier if there was only one direction? Well, I guess you could say the dice was loaded from the start, having complained about trucks and busy road it took me little time to go for the P option, It was a good choice.

Route 2,853,089 – powered by www.bikemap.net

The cycling was good and I was making good average speed, but I was bored. So I put the headphones on and I stated listening to Tommy and, as the weather did not allow for any candle lighting, I did not see my entire future. I did however entertain myself, at least for the first three times I listened to it in its entirety.

As I said the road was unremarkable, I took some videos, a 360º with the GoPro in the middle of the road and some pole shots on a quite long descent. Then I clearly remember thinking “there must be just twenty miles left” and when I went around the corner I found this sign [picture below]. I’m getting good.

Good call.

Twenty miles, or so, later I was in Salamanca. I have learned that Spanish signs are distributed with less than complete accuracy in mind. Yesterday I saw two signs at a good mile of distance from one another both reading 42 Km to Tordesillas.

Anyway on the way into town I passed by the plaza the toro and observed that not only it was adorned with many statues to, presumably, famous toreros but quite interestingly, with some graffiti of an entire different nature.

They truly like to make a fuss of their toreros around here.

Quite by coincidence I was watching Newsnight last night and it turns out that yesterday was the ten year anniversary of the outlawing of fox hunting in the United Kingdom.

Not all feeling the same way here.

The panellists were a pro fox hunting labour peer and an anti fox hunting conservative MP. That in itself was worth a mention. Anyways they, in a very British fashion, agreed to disagree on the effects of the ban and on the need to revisit the issue.

What I think nobody would argue about is that Spain should have a real good look at the bull fight and whether it is ethically defensible.

Personally I have nothing against fights, what offends me is the passing of cowards for heroes. If the torero was fighting a bull that had not been weakened by banderillas and was doing so with a six inch knife only, then he would have my respect. The outcomes of the corridas would be a lot less predictable and the mortality rate in the toreros community would fly high, but the survivors and victors, well, they would be true heroes.

I got to the hostel a little earlier than usual and I decided to go and explore the town before sunset. Though not having seen the sun for days now I’m not sure if I know what sunsets looks like.

Convento de san Esteban

Well, Salamanca looks very nice. In facts it looks as nice a city as I have ever seen in Spain in my entire life.

There must be some strange reason that attracts me to seats of knowledge, but the whole of the city oozed of that sense of proud heritage mixed with the excitement of undergraduates moving their first steps in their field of choice. I liked it.

A cool building at 17 Calle San Paulo

Some of the pictures I took were quite random and forced on me by the sheer beauty and majesty of the buildings.

Faculty of social sciences

I suspect I’m not here at the right time, I think a visit in the spring would possibly offer greater rewards but I’m here now so …

Patio de esquelas

What is completely amazing is that wherever you are in the streets you’re sure there is a vista that can be framed into a photograph.

View of the main university building from the Patio de esquela.


And now for something completely different

I have decided that the fundraising effort needs a bit of peeping up. I have some friends looking at various options but a mix of: not wanting to create work for others, understanding that most people are already giving to many other causes and that the fundraising is only on component of the trip, makes me a bit weary of asking too often for money.

I have however come up with an idea today, you would not believe what 50+ miles of not very much can do.

The idea is a competition.

Scattered in the post above there are several references to songs, bands, movies, tv etc…

The rules are:

  1. Find them
  2. Donate one pound/euro/dollar for each one you find using the JustGiving page adding #x10loupeQuiz in the message
  3. Do not write the answers in the JustGiving message but send them privately to me (email, FB message, Twitter DD, anything goes)
  4. The competition will end Sunday 23rd at 21:00 BST and I will add to Sunday post a list of the entrants with the number of identified references.
  5. If one or more of you will identify all the references, I will match the entire amount of the money raised under the #x10loupeQuiz tag with a donation out of my pocket.

The only thing remaining to say is play and make people play, remember this is just about having some fun while getting money to the people at the MSSociety.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Nanu says:

    Tremendous idea Alex!! A prefect mix of fun, charity and, in my own case, increase of music-artistical culture for sure!
    I like it! …or “Am Pies”, in our local dialect! 😀

  2. Andrew Clowes says:

    I am on it…I ahve a few but I suspect not all of them. I think I have just 6 so far…

    In the meantime what about (From Madagascar 2) Alex on the Spot by Will I Am?


    1. Alex says:

      Great, not too far then. When Tarn and I watched the first and she saw this she said: “He’s really you”.


  3. Julca says:

    L’influenza spagnola in Cuba si nota anche nella distribuzione a casaccio dei cartelli distanziometrici tra una città e l’altra.
    E riguardo ai toreri, pare che negli ultimi tempi ci sia stata un’epidemia di incornate…non sono più capaci neanche barando!
    Complimenti per l’abbronzatura!

    1. Alex says:

      Non avevo notato che comincio a sviluppare una riga da occhiali.

  4. Julca says:

    Ha il suo fascino…fà molto bagnino!

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