Every thing Outdated Is New Once more: JustLuxe Explores Marialva, Portugal and Salamanca, Spain

Sep. 2nd, 2019

The Rio Douro roughly interprets from Portuguese as “(the) river of gold.” There’s a time, late within the afternoon, because the solar units, rays of sunshine flip the blue-gray river into the colour of liquid gold. Or, it might must do with the colour of Tawny Port, whose grapes are grown in abundance on the terraced hillside vineyards above the river. Or, it may very well be a mix of each, nature and tradition, of fluid colour transformation and viticulture, nobody is aware of. What is thought, nevertheless, is Douro’s serpentine motion: it cuts throughout northern Portugal, 557 miles from the previous metropolis of Oporto, into the north central Spain. It flows with historical past, as nice structure and agriculture mix, separate, and mix once more. Nothing is static.

On our ten day Viking River Cruise, we explored many areas, however throughout the course of two days specifically, we explored two areas that had been as totally different because the ideas of nature and tradition, but every carried traces of each. One was historical, one fashionable, however the sweep of Iberian historical past had been the essences of their colourful subtexts. 

The final Portuguese river port city on the Douro is Barca d’Alva, just some hundred yards from the Spanish border. We left our ship and drove to our destination– Marialva, which in hindsight, was a profound shock. First, we climbed a protracted hill to the ruins of Marialva fortress and chateau. On the base of the ruins stands a church, a village (inhabitants 30 or 40 in response to our information) and a cemetery. 

Marialva Fortress stands on a hill, just a little over 2000 ft, overlooking the westernmost fringe of one of many Iberian plateaus of the Iberian Peninsula.  Its historical past is sketchy, however it’s recognized {that a} Roman metropolis, Civitas Aravorum was right here in 179 AD.  A steady occupation allowed a constitution for this space to be drafted in 1179 AD.  Not a lot else is thought, however seeing the ruins, I may see how substantial this historical fortress was. Despite the fact that a lot is misplaced, a lot stays, and on the pinnacle, you might nonetheless see land, village, vineyards, plateaus, and distant waters.You possibly can additionally see historical enemies approaching.

Marialva Fortress And Fortress Ruins

Nevertheless, an surprising shock awaited on the finish of this fortress journey. Within the shadows of this historical second century fortress and Roman metropolis, was of all issues, a luxurious retreat. I’ve been to many luxurious resorts and retreats, however by no means one within the shadows of a second century Roman destroy. The retreat/resort is known as Casas do Coro. 

It’s a assortment of stone residences and cabins, with a pool, backyard, spa, a small winery, and restaurant. We had lunch there, and got a tour of this eco-sensitive property, and the natural gardens as properly, all inside ubiquitous sight of those daunting ruins. The expertise was additionally daunting: the previous wanting down at the moment, the previous wanting on the new.. I couldn’t assist however consider a number of the traces from the Peter Allen music Every thing Outdated Is New Once more.  

Outside Resort Pool, Above the Marialva Fortress and Ca

Don’t throw the previous away/You may want it some wet day/Desires can come true once more/When every part previous is new once more

And with these lyrics working in my thoughts, we drove away from the Douro, on to Salamanca, Spain – whose roots had been even older than Marialva’s.

Salamanca was based by a Celtic tribe – their id misplaced to historical past — that was conquered by Hannibal and later managed by the Romans. The Roman partitions and defensive turrets nonetheless stand at this time, in addition to the Puente Romano de Salamanca, a Romanesque bridge, with 15 granite arches, that span the Tormes River. Initially constructed within the 12 months 89, it was reconstructed after being broken by flooding within the 17th century.  

Plaza Main, Salamanca.

As we sensed and noticed at each trun, that is an previous metropolis with one of many oldest universities in Europe. Based in 1134, it was the primary college to obtain the title ‘La Universidad’ in 1254.  For the reason that 13th century, Salamanca College has hosted many historic and literary giants — Miguel de Cervantes, Christopher Columbus, Ignatius Loyola and Hernán Cortés. The library was closed the times we visited, however due to Wikipedia, the picture beneath is without doubt one of the 160,000 leather-based sure volumes that fill this house. 

What was open was all else: The Plaza Mayor, accomplished in 1755, is a good instance of the Spanish Baroque type. Initially used as a bull combating area, it’s now dwelling to boutique retailers and Tapas cafes. However then, the Plaza Main’s road leads right down to the Outdated and the New Cathedrals. 

The Outdated Cathedral is Romanesque, courting from the 12th century and is legendary for its ornate Gallo Tower. The adjoining New Cathedral was in-built phases from 1509.  Not shockingly, that New Cathedral took over 200 years to construct and was accomplished in 1734. New is a relative time period! 

Outdated Cathedral With Gallo Tower, Salamanca.

Close to these twin Cathedrals, up the road, is the Casa de las Conchas that now homes an occasion house and a public library. It was constructed from 1493 to 1517 by Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado, a knight of the Order of Santiago de Compostela. Its most unusual function is the façade, adorned with greater than 300 scallop shells, symbols of the order of Santiago, in addition to of the strolling pilgrims performing the religious stroll, known as the Means of St. James.  

All that stated, leaving Conchas and Cathedrals behind, we had been jarred into modern life as we walked to the Salamanca metropolis market, open weekends, promoting every part from frozen cod, shrimp, fish with glassy eyes, ice cream, Spanish chocolate, Portuguese chocolate churros, greens, fruit, and a number of styles of sausage and cheese. To many in our group it was a shock, shifting from a revered, holy quiet of sacred locations into modern life so rapidly, with pleased noise of shopping for and consuming alost all over the place.  But it surely was a needful step as we moved again towards the Douro and our vessel, the Viking Helgrim, our first in returning to Porto, and going  dwelling.

In these two days, we noticed fluid transformations from historical to fashionable, and of luxurious throughout the confines of simplicity. Seeing Mariela and Salamanca so carefully linked in time. allowed us to expertise the usually anomalous combos of nature with tradition, aligned, not contentious.  Can every part previous be new once more? Relies on the meanings of previous and new. The mixed permutations appear extra significant and memorable.

Susan Kime

Historic village of Marialva

Susan Kime

Casas do Coro Grapes

Susan Kime

Casas Do Coro wine and water, served at lunch.


Outdated Library, College Of Salamanca, 160,000 volumes.

Susan Kime

A part of Exterior, New Cathedral Salamanca.

Dennis Shaugnessy

Casas De Los Conchas, Salamanca.

Susan Kime

Sweet Vendor, Salamanca Open Market

Susan Kime

Meat and Salami vendor, Salamanca Open Market

Credit score: Viking River Cruises

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