Salamanca: Of Frogs and Astronauts

I do love quirky things. Some of you may have noticed. And Salamanca has quirkiness by the bucket load.

Just to set the scene: Most of the town’s historic sandstone buildings are embellished with amazingly elaborate carvings. We’re talking stuff like this:

Cathedral DoorIt’s one of the portals of the New Cathedral. “New”, in this case, refers to 1513. (That’s when they started building it.)

As you can imagine, regular renovations of these facades are necessary to maintain their splendour. But it’s not all saints, angels and glowering gargoyles.

How about an ice-cream-eating, bare arsed dragon...?

How about a bare-arsed, ice-cream-eating dragon? Doesn’t look in the least bit vanilla to me…

Yup, it's an astronaut. He joined the ensemble in 1992.

Yup, it’s an astronaut. He may have missed the launch when he joined the ensemble in 1992, but he looks happy enough.

Salamanca also has a frog obsession. There’s one hidden in the masonry of this portal belonging to the University of Salamanca:

What, you can't spot it???

During daylight hours, come rain or shine, you will find a conglomeration of tourists outside, squinting their little eyes out. Spotting the frog is meant to bring good luck. What, you can’t see it??? Let me help you… [And one of these days, I’ll learn to take a straight photo…]

Look at the pillar with the three skulls. The frog is on top of the skull furthest to the left.

Look at the grey part of the pillar and you’ll see three skulls facing down. The frog is on top of the skull furthest to the left, i.e, in the centre of the picture.

That frog has spawned copious offspring leaping about in hundreds of Salamancan shop windows.  This lot here seems to be keeping the astronaut good company :)

That frog has spawned copious offspring leaping about in hundreds of Salamancan shop windows.
This lot here seems to be keeping our astronaut good company 🙂

I had to crane my neck a bit to take most of these pics, so I’m linking this to travelwithintent’s weekly Look Up, Look Down photo challenge 🙂



37 thoughts on “Salamanca: Of Frogs and Astronauts

  1. Shmruthi

    Even with your help, I took a while to find the frog! And an astronaut carved into a cathedral?! That definitely qualifies as quirky! Great post and pictures 🙂


  2. Debbie

    Thanks for bringing quirkiness to the challenge this week. And for sharing out the good luck by helping us find the frog. Looks a wonderful place – it’s on my Spanish road trip route, whenever I find time to fit that in.


  3. Kim G

    I love the elaborate quirkiness of it all.


    Kim G
    San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
    Where there are no elaborate stone carvings, only miles of tiled roofs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bernard O'Shea

    Very interesting. I don’t know what it says about me but I loved the bare-arsed dragon! After I did a four-week summer language course in Portugal at the University of Algarve in 2011, I had a week in which to drive around the Iberian peninsula. Salamanca was the city in Spain I most wanted to see (excluding the ones that were too far away to include in a week’s itinerary that had to finish in Porto). We spent a Sunday there, it was a great place. You have a keen eye for quirky detail. The other places we saw were Merida and Caceres, They too were impressive. Missed out on Toledo though, unfortunately.


  5. Anna

    aww i love modern, tongue in cheek whimsy! salamanca is another place i wish i visited instead of spending my weekends clubbing 🙂


  6. Pingback: Revolving above London | Travel with Intent

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s