Lazarillo’s Salamanca. The place to learn everything
Like a good university city, Salamanca is one of the most entertaining and exciting cities in Spain. Salamanca University is not the oldest in Spain (this award goes to Palencia), but it is one of the four greats of Europe (along with Bologna, the Sorbonne and Oxford). Its very beautiful Plaza Mayor brings in all kinds of students, just as it has for centuries. This is also true of the fact that many of the best lessons one learns in life are taught in the street.
In all corners of the city, fabulous stories are told of the tricks that students had to do to survive (such as warming the seats of the rich in the cold winter months); to eat (many could only afford the so-called soup given in convents as charity and always carried around their spoons just in case); to pass their exams (no offering to the saints was too small and before the exams they lay in wait throughout the night in the chapel of Santa Bárbara in the cloisters) or to avoid the vigilance of those responsible for the residences after their flirtations.
One of the city's students, one who never went to the University, was Lázaro González Pérez, known by the universal tale of the novel as Lazarillo de Tormes, an emblematic work by an anonymous author written in the 15th century, the Golden Age of Spanish literature. Lázaro, born solemnly poor, is left in the care of a mean, cruel blind man.
One of the most famous passages takes place alongside the Roman bridge over the Tormes River to the city. Here we find a statue of a famous bull (some say that it was actually a pig), erected by the Celtic Vettones, inhabitants of the city before the Romans. The blind man tells him to put his ear against the animal’s cheek to hear what it has to say. At the stone’s silence, the blind man pushes him against it: “I felt the pain of the horns for more than three days”. Still reeling, the blind man gives him the key to the lesson: a blind man’s guide has to know more than the devil himself.
Images: Turismo de Salamanca