Yesterday when we were coming into Salamanca from Madrid, I realized that I’m really glad Salamanca is the city I chose to study in. It’s beautiful, full of intricate monuments and homages to art and education, it’s small and cozy, and it’s just generally lovely. Today we got a very exclusive chance to tour the old library of the university. To protect the books, we aren’t allowed to take photos in the library, but if it helps at all to understand how cool it is, I can’t tell which place is more my favorite: the library or the river.
The only picture I have of it is from a postcard I sent to a friend. It’s full of printed books and hand-written manuscripts dating back to the 13th century. The floors, shelves, chairs, and shelves are all made of a beautiful chestnut brown wood, and the bookcases are labeled with hand-painted section markers. There are also several giant globes that they called “round books” and high, rounded ceilings with a few windows toward the top. A man who worked there put on special gloves and talked through three extremely old, valuable, and ornate books containing biblical stories and colored maps of the Americas. He told us that during the 15th century, to buy a well-decorated book was the equivalent of someone buying a Porsche now; it showed how rich they were because books were very difficult to own, which is also why libraries were so important. For a town with such a prestigious university, the library was very important. This one wasn’t actually the original, but it is still old and beautiful and I wanted to live there for the rest of my life.After this we saw a rounded painted ceiling from the original library, but of course I couldn’t take a picture of that either. Then I went home for lunch, and later went out to search through bookstores for something to read for fun in English. I went to my favorites and found one store with classics for only five euros. I got Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, my man. I was hoping to have something for the trip to Ireland and the long ride home, and just generally when I’m in my room wanting to read.
For an update on how I’m doing, I’m honestly running very low on energy lately. I’m tired of the nonstop doing, but I don’t really want to slow down until I’m home, and for the most part I can’t anyway. Finals and final projects are right around the corner which is a little scary since it feels like midterms just happened, but I’m going to worry more about that after Ireland. Speaking of, I leave for Ireland early Thursday morning and spend one of my remaining two weekends there with my roommate. I’m happy we get to go, but I also just want to get home and get into the real routine of my life. I want to be able to sleep without constant noise and to see my friends and family. I’m happy, don’t get me wrong, but I am glad to be coming home soon and I will have many wonderful memories and new things to bring with me.