The city is a bit bigger than Salamanca, but it has the feeling of a peaceful village. It was very VERY quiet when we were there, yet it was the week end… Aparently nearly 100% of the youngsters will leave Zamora after they’ve finished high school and stay in Salamanca during their studies.
The architecture is completly different from Salamanca, the buildings have much more colors, you’ll find lots of green spaces and trees in the city center. Plaza Mayor is also shaped differently, it is sort of a big circle with a big church in the middle so you can’t really see the other side.
Our guide, David, told us all the stories about Zamora. For instance, how ‘wifi was invented in Zamora’. Haha good one!! I have heard a tour guide in NZ claim that wifi was invented in NZ… The history of Zamora is far more interesting, they used to be the neutral point, or the border if you want, between the catholics and muslims and many fights have taken place in the region during the ‘reconquista‘ (XVth century). David kept talking about this ‘El Cif’ that everyone must have heard of, telling us all about his battles and his braveness and showing us his old house. Eventually it hit me, that he was actually talking about El CID, goddam Spanish accent! El Cid was able to kill hundreds of soldiers in a battle, on his own. He was as well the only one capable of winning a battle when dead… He was actually killed in a battle with the muslims. The Spanish, desperate without their best asset, decide to put him back on his horse, with a piece of wood against his back to make him stand straight – can only be desperation!! They tied his sword to his hand and used another piece of wood to make him look like he was holding his weapon forward. They kicked his horse who went running to the enemy lines. Thinking it could only be a ghost, for El Cid sure was dead, the ‘Moros‘ fled away and let the Spanish won the battle of Zamora. The city is full of little stories like that, that’s always my favorite part about visiting European cities.
David took us to the Tapas neighborhood for lunch. It’s always hard for us foreigners to tell what will be a good tapas bar, because usually from the outside they look like very cheap places, very plain and boring. However, if when you open the door, the crowd inside stop talking, start staring at you in a very unpleasant and impolite manner, and you suddenly feel like you don’t belong in here, this is the place! It means it’s only Spanish inside and it must mean the food is good! We picked one, every where inside I could see signs for the ‘sangria de sidra‘, so of course I ordered one to try it, and they wouldn’t serve it to me. That is one thing you have to be prepared for in Spain, the unpleasantness of the locals towards foreigners. I have somehow a Spanish look, so usually when I get in a shop, or bar the waiter will come to me, but as soon as I open my mouth, half of the time I know there will be no for an answer. Or half of my order will be missing. If I ask for aioli dipping I’ll get mayonnaise. It’s highly annoying, but that’s how it is. We had a pleasant lunch and that’s all that matter.
They say Zamora region is the poorest of Spain, and the city is full of signs For Sale, or shops closed. As soon as you get out of Zamora, there is nothing, a few farms scattered and completly abandonned. Spain is having it hard these days and the rural areas are nearly third world countries. Pretty sad because what a gorgeous landscape.
Definitly Zamora is worth a trip. If the sun is shining, you’ll wish you have more time to see it. Hope you enjoy the pictures, I’m in love with the sky we had that day, but don’t get fooled, it was freezing…