Via de la Plata

Approaching Salamanca and the end of my pilgrimage

After I left the hotel in the morning, I walked a little over an hour to the next town, Morille, and had hot tea and a croissant in a bar. The town was once the hope of many poor families during 1960/70 to get some wealth through mining tin and tungsten. The mines were not profitable and soon closed and the town lost its importance.

Through a hilly, very relaxing landscape, the Via de la Plata was leading towards the goal of my current pilgrimage – Salamanca.










At one point, I heard voices behind me. They came from two pilgrims I had seen at the bar in Morille. We walked together for a while and they told me that they had retired and made walking pilgrimages as their purpose in life. However, they were fast walkers and we soon separated.



The Spanish guy, Nacho, and the Italian, Hadrian. They might have different names at home




From here, I could see the town Salamanca in the distance


In comparison to many other towns, the entrance to Salamanca was beautiful. I walked through an alley of golden leaves gently dancing in the afternoon wind. It seemed that the original intention of my pilgrimage, expressed by the conversation between Yunmen and a monk, had materialised at the end.


“What is it when trees shrink and leaves fall?”

“the body exposed to the golden wind”


When I approached Puente Romano, heavy clouds had assembled above the cathedral.  Powerful thunder rolled across the sky, but there was neither lightening nor rain. It seemed that the sky had also responded to my pilgrimage – a pilgrimage on the Silver Way (Via de la Plata) in the golden wind.





Puente Romano and the Cathedral




Roman bridge crossing the Rio Tormes. In the background, you can see the Catedral Nuevo and the smaller Romanesque church with the cupola.


I checked into a nice hotel in the center of town and stayed there for one more day before going back to Seville.




My feet were still swollen and burning and I was happy to have a beautiful room on my own with a view of the cathedral.


It was a weekend when I arrived in Salamanca and the town was bursting with life. Cafes and restaurants with outside sitting areas were filled with people on every plaza and street.



Plaza Mayor




Plaza Mayor




After weeks of eating simple, unimaginable food, I ordered a plate of shrimp and salad – what a feast for my taste buds! In the background, you see a side view of the University of Salamanca, founded in 1218 AD.



University to the left with Casa de la Conchas to the right (1500)




One of many street scenes


I especially liked Catedral Nueva with the older, Romanesque cathedral (13th century) attached to it and connected by a doorway. Both are masterworks of masonry.



The building of Catedral Nueva started in 1513 and took 220 years to finish. I was in awe of the space created by the slender columns reaching up to the sky, ending in beautiful, gracious patterns of flowers.



Looking up into the cupola




When I entered the Old Cathedral, the space was filled with the scent of incense. It felt sacred and very special!




Romanesque Lions carrying a sarcophagus








Old Cathedral



Old cathedral



I loved this depiction of a queen in the Old Cathedral – maybe, Mary as the Queen of Heaven?



Streets not for rushing traffic, but for cafes, conversations, community and friendship.




Over the rooftops


For hours, I walked through the city, admiring the beauty and discovering charming places.




A little garden behind the old city wall


At one point, I decided to walk to the pilgrim’s office to get a new pilgrim’s pass. Mine was totally filled with stamps. Whenever I checked into an Albergue, I had to show my pilgrim’s pass to prove that I was a pilgrim. The Albergues are very cheep and sometimes only ask for donations. When I passed the Albergue in Salamanca (just a coincidence), I saw Lorenzo waiting for its opening. We were so happy to see each other again!



Meeting Lorenzo again. He had troubles with his feet, had many blisters and knee problems and was forced to stop for a while and walk slower.  When I first met him, he seemed driven and could not rest nor stop along the way. His feet forced him to slow down! What a great way of teaching! He intended to continue his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela despite the weather forecast of two weeks of rain and cold.



Plaza Mayor


There would have been much more to see and experience in Salamanca, but again, I had to leave. I had to be back in Seville in order to catch my flight to Vienna. I bought a train ticket and the person at the counter of the train station told me, that the train will go first to Madrid, where I have to change the train in order to go to Seville.

When I arrived in Madrid, I was surprised how small the train station was! I was not allowed to leave the platform and was told to stay inside and take the train to Seville at the platform down below. The communication was difficult, because nobody was speaking English and I could not really understand Spanish. Since I had one hour, I called my son and leisurely went down about 20 minutes before departure. In watching the monitor, I saw only trains going to the airport and became suspicious – something was not right!

I convinced the guardians with body language and some words of Spanish to let me go to the information center. Here they told me that I had not only to change the train but also the train station, but it was too late to catch the train to Seville. You have to buy a new ticket, they told me! I was devastated! What does that mean? Do I have to stay overnight in Madrid? Will I miss my flight the next day? Why did not anybody tell me about changing the train stations? It was the first time during my pilgrimage that I really felt lost and I was shaking!

At the end, it all worked out. The information center in the main train station had English speaking employees who were very understanding and issued another ticket for the same day. I arrived in Seville only some hours later, stayed in a nice, old and very charming hotel and flew back to Vienna without any more problems.

The hotel in Seville stamped my pilgrim’s pass on the first page of my pass as the only space left, ending the pilgrimage as a circle.





It was again a beautiful pilgrimage. Thank you so much for walking with me.


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Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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  1. I hope you think about visiting my brother Ron and Billy sometime in Spain. The beauty of some of these buildings is mind boggling by the way


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