When driving from northern to southern Spain the most direct route is from San Sebastian to Madrid then on to the Costa del Sol via Granada, which is the route that I have taken on all my previous trips. However, on my must recent trip with my father to southern Spain we decided to take the Autovia Ruta de la Plata, in English this means the Silver Route. This route passes through the ancient roman town of Salamanca, and as we would be passing in the evening it was the perfect place to stop for the night and enjoy an evening in Salamanca.
An Evening in Salamanca
We checked into the Parador Hotel for the night. The Parador Hotel is located quite close to the city centre, just a short 10 minute walk away. The decor of the hotel reception and public areas was modern yet classically Spanish, which was also reflected in the rooms. My room was very spacious; the large bedroom which was split into a bedroom area and a lounge area, separated by a clever use of furniture. The room also had an extremely large bathroom. I didn’t spend much time in the hotel as I arrived just before 10pm and checked out around 10am the following morning. This hotel can currently be booked on hotels.com for as little as £64 a night and is perfect for an evening in Salamanca.
My Meal in Salamanca
My father and step mother have driven the silver route to southern Spain many times in the past and they have also stayed in the same hotel on their previous trips. During their previous stay in Salamanca they came across a fantastic restaurant called La Hoja 21, and before we left on our trip my step mother called ahead and booked us a table there for dinner. She booked the table for 10pm knowing we wouldn’t arrive in Salamanca until at least 9pm. This wasn’t a problem at all because the Spanish tend not to eat until much later in the evening. The restaurant’s evening opening hours were 8:30 until 11:30. We actually didn’t finish our meal until gone midnight, and the restaurant was still almost full when we left.
I enjoyed a couple of slices of delicious fresh bread with a beer while I was looking through their very hi-tech menu. Their menu was in the form of a tablet which I think was a great idea. I imagine that at the push of a button the menu can been translated into a different language should you need it to. The menu had a good amount of choice, with about 10 different starters and main courses for you to choose. The decoration in the restaurant was quite modern, yet there was a very cosy atmosphere to the place and the staff were friendly and more than happy to help. I really felt at home in La Hoja 21 as soon as I arrived.
For my meal I started with the terrine of foie gras with a port reduction and dried fruits followed by slices of ox sirloin with foie gras and apple sauce and to finish a gin and tonic ice cream with orange biscuit and lime juice. The food was absolutely delicious and the presentation was intricate and very artistic. I was very impressed with my gin and tonic ice cream – it cant be an easy task to transform a classic drink, like a gin and tonic, into dessert form, but this dessert was definitely the work of an artist. To accompany my meal I enjoyed a bottle of 2005 Vina Tondonia Reserva Rioja which was not only a stunning wine, but it paired beautifully with the bold flavours of my ox sirlion and foie gras.
Even though it was lightly raining when we left the restaurant I decided to have a quick look around the centre of Salamanca at night. I was a bit shocked by the amount of people still out and about given that the time was now half past midnight and raining lightly, but I guess that is the Spanish culture. Parts of the city such as Plaza Mayor were still all lit up which allowed for a great photo opportunity. However, the lighting in other parts of the city such as the cathedral, walls and Roman bridge had been switched off given the time of day. I still managed to get some nice photos around the city before heading back to the hotel. It took just over 10 minutes to walk back to the hotel which was fine. On the way to dinner we took a taxi as we were running slightly late, it took around 5 minutes and cost €6 which was fine.
The next morning after a good sleep I headed back into the city centre for one last look around before we left Salamanca. It was a beautiful sunny morning, however it was quite fresh as the temperature was only 2 degrees. I visited all the places that I had been the night before but this time the streets were empty, I guess the Spanish don’t head out too early on a Sunday morning! During my walk I came across a churros stand, so I decided to have chocolate con churros for my breakfast as I was walking back towards the hotel; a bargain at €2.50!
I knew I wouldn’t have very long in Salamanca, but I did enjoy the short time that I spent there. I would definitely like to visit again but hopefully the next time I will have plenty more time to explore the city. I would also definitely eat in La Hoja 21 again, it was one of the most delicious meals I have had in a long time.