Teatro Liceo, Salamanca (photo courtesy of Dan)
Greetings from the land that vegetables forgot. Spain and more specifically Salamanca would be by my account, the ham capitol of the world. There is ham in everything, including the very buildings themselves, according to James who knows a thing or two about architecture. During the war years and other lean times, the locals apparently subsisted off the well-known"ham bricks" that have been used in construction here since time began, giving all the areas edifices that warm pink glow. Some of these ham bricks dated back to Roman times and it is also well known in the area that even a ham brick from the years before the Christian era can be eaten for nutritional value if boiled properly for long enough.
Seriously, these folks take their ham to heart. There is a ham store on almost every block that is usually covered with drying whole hams, chorizo and all manner of sausages. The hams are very Spanish hams and so they feature the intact hoof on the business end, just so you know you are not getting Spam or some likewise ersatz pork rendition. At breakfast every morning in the hotel, there is a ham bar which features about five or six different configurations of pork. For the vegetarians, Hebrews or Halalistas, Spain is a challenge.
But, the picture above tells the other tale of Spain: beauty wherever the eye lands. Salamanca is especially chock full of jewels of medieval, baroque, renaissance and even some Franco-era gems. It is truly incredible and fully deserves it's designation as a world heritage site. If you are ever in Spain Dear Reader, try and make the trip to this incredibly rich artistic and hammy place.
Tonight was our first show of two and I apologize for not dropping in sooner with you all but we have been busy and the internet has been spotty for me. This lovely theatre above is where we are playing. It is called Teatro Liceo and is another gem in the tiara of Salamanca's architectural crown jewels. Part of the theatre was at one time an ancient church and the backstage and rear wall of the stage feature Roman (not Romanesque!) arches made of big old stones that scream out indentured servitude to us. You cannot swing a dead gato without hitting some other piece of antiquity.
We are making our way with our broken Spanish and it is interesting to see who is pulling the high school Spanish from the cobwebs of their mind and who has some command of the language a takes charge of communication and who just plunges ahead, chopping the lovely language to bits but making themselves understood on some very basic level nonetheless. It all reminds me once again that I need to learn this language, as it is so useful in my very own city, as well as here where the franchise began.
Another quick note on an interesting feature: red wine comes in the catering snacks provided backstage to the cast and crew! Viva Espana! Ole!
All right, I must hasten myself to the bed. Tomorrow is the last day of sight seeing and the last show. I still have not been to a convent, though there are at least four that are still in operation, still cloistered and accepting visitors. And apparently there is a church where some kind of nefarious black magic was practiced back in the more expansive, pre-Inquisition days of the catholic church. Gotta see that.
Sleep well todos, y hasta manana (sorry I don't know how to make the correct accents on the words).