Category Archives: Outside Spain

Plaza Mayor of Salamanca – One of Spain’s Most Beautiful

2018_022523_3352_441Arguably, the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca is one of the most popular squares of Spain. I won’t hesitate to say that it must be the most beautiful plaza, even more than the Plaza Mayor of Madrid. If you’re Salamanca-bound, it is a must that you pass through this plaza – which is obviously humongous in area. During our visit last January, the square had our group in awe especially when we trooped to it during the evening, as it was a truly glowing spectacle.  Because of its beauty, grandeur and intricacy in decoration, the square was declared a major monument as early as 1936 — a beloved Spanish treasure.

Considered as the town’s major area where locals and tourists meet and gather, its most famous spot of the square is in the area of the building that features its clock. It is common for locals to refer to the spot underneath the clock as their meeting point if they get to meet inside the Plaza Mayor.

The porches on all four sides of the square is said to have been built as a means of protecting the sellers and owners of food stall during inclement weather, such as rain or snow. And like other major Spanish squares like that of Madrid, it was formerly used as a venue for bullfighting events up until the middle of the 1800’s.

2018_022523_3330_428The buildings surrounding the square glow like gold during the evening, brought about by the yellowish light coming from the numerous strong incandescent lamps trained on their facade. The bright hue is caused by the yellow silicon sandstone that makes up the materials of the wall. This glistening feature of Salamanca’s main square earns it the title of the Golden Square.

Direccion:

Plaza Mayor, 37002 Salamanca

Distance between Madrid and Salamanca: 212 kilometers

Travel time:

2 hours and 15 minutes

Map:

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A Few Vignettes to Remember Fatima By

What are my chances of working in a beautiful Iberian country, and within the same year, be able to visit another European country? Admittedly, I knew it was an almost impossible goal. Still I had in me this burning desire to go to Madrid, Spain, and so I worked real hard to make it a reality. I was relentless and maintained a go-for-broke attitude, which I knew helped a lot. Now, here I am, thankful that all the hard work had paid off. I must say that while luck did play an important role (a firm believer), I also believe that it’s more of fate that really had me here. Happily, I accept my fate. So far, so good. It is a lot of fun living in Madrid. Puerta del Sol, Atocha, Plaza de Cibeles, Bravo de Murillo – I could be in these places everyday and still be in awe of them.  Jamon, tortillas, morcillos, bocadillos de calamares, tons of other tapas, mojitos, copas – I had acquired a taste for these Castizo delicacies that I’d be more than happy to have them satiate my hunger day after day.

What makes it more exciting is that since Spain belongs to the European Union, it’s easier for me to travel out of the country, and see other places this side of the world.

And so, it finally happened, my travel out of Madrid – beyond the borders of Spain. And my first trip? Fatima, Portugal! I won’t say much, but instead will post pictures. Such shots from this beautiful place will be more than enough to convey the beauty and serenity that the place offers as well as the spiritual renewal that anyone can benefit from going on a trip to this place. And indeed, it has been a worthwhile, enlightening experience for me, despite being away from Madrid for two days and going through the long travel (20 hours overall, including the countless stops we had along the way).

imageChapel of the Apparitions is acknowledged as one of the main sites of the Marian apparitions

image A closer look at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary houses the tombs of the children-visionaries – Francisco, Lucia, and Jacinta

imageThe grand Holm Oak Tree stands beside the Chapel of the Apparitions, the very spot where the Miraculous Lady of Fatima appeared “much brighter than the sun” to the three children-visionaries – Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco.

imageThis pathway connects the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity to the Chapel of the Apparitions. Pilgrims seeking forgiveness for their sins or requesting difficult intentions negotiate the whole length of the path on their knees. Some wear pads to protect their knees, while others decide not to. Penitents moving on their knees is an act that denotes repentance. It is common not only in Portugal but many other Catholic countries, the Philippines included.

imageMajestic Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary imposes its presence in the shrine area. In the foreground is the Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

imageFlowers in full bloom cover the base of the Sacred Heart of Jesus monument. It is sand that under the Sacred Heart is found a spring. This is the source of water that pilgrims collect for its healing purposes. I myself brought at number of plastic bottles, both big and small, that I filled up, empty a few of the small bottles during our trip back home

imageThe beautiful High-Cross seems to direct the way of pilgrams to the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity. Located at the back of the cross, the basilica was meant to commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the holy apparitions

imageSaint John Paul II was a devotee of the Our Lady of the Rosary. He was seriously devoted that he visited the Lady’s shrine thrice. During one of his visits, He donated a rock taken from the tomb of Saint Peter to become a part of the materials used to start the building of the Basilica of the Holy Trinity
imageAfter the mass, the SStatue of Our Lady of the Rosary is carried of the Chapel of the Apparitions the lead the candlelight procession

imageBrightly illuminated crosses lead the huge crowd that joined the Our Lady of the Rosary procession at the Sanctuary of Fatima’s Central Plaza