Last Monday marked 33 years since I left Salamanca, Spain. In truth, Sunday was the anniversary of my leaving there. It was a late, overnight, train from there to Madrid and then a plane to Dublin, via London. So Monday was the anniversary of my arrival back from Salamanca.
Thinking of my, almost non-existant, sense of direction I marvel at having made the journey successfully. It included a change of trains, somewhere in the region of 2:00AM in terms of time and who knows where in terms of locale.
To this day I have fond memories of the city, and of the countryside around it. Even the farm land though, for years, I had an aversion to lentils that bordered on phobia. Perhaps it was something to do with bending over and walking backwards for two weeks as we harvested field after field...after field...after field...after...
Still, that May I saw more sunrises over open countryside that I had before in my life. And possibly since.
I walked around the city late that night, waiting for the train. Sometime after 9:30PM the Plaza Mayor began to fill with families, all the way down to wee little ones, out for their evening meal. Of course, a lens three decades deep can lend a romantic cast to the whole place, and that evening in particular. But just because it's romantic doesn't make it untrue.
Years later, when Spain was running an advertising campaign under the heading: "Spain, everything under the sun", I ran across a two page spread in National Geographic - of the Plaza Mayor, Salamanca.
I almost wept.
Tengo que irme allá.