Human rights

My outing today was to the monastery around the corner from my apartment. Just so we’re clear this isn’t a little operation – it’s huge, and old, and fabulous.

The building is amazing, but I have to admit my amaze-levels are maxing out a bit and so I appreciated the beauty but was not gob-smacked. I was very intrigued by the monastery’s historical claim to fame which is that it was the first place to decide that the native people’s of South America were human and had souls and therefore some rights. It ought to have been obvious without decades of philosophical debate and it didn’t make any appreciable difference, but there you go that’s the claim to fame. And it begged the question: how much of the gold on the altarpiece came from South America?

After that bit of exploration I headed to the Plaza Major. Salamanca’s Plaza Major is widely thought to be the most beautiful in Spain and it is lovely. All that soft-red sandstone glows beautifully in the evening sun. I sat for a while and people-watched over a beer and then struck up a conversation with a couple of walkers on the Camino de Plata at the next table; and continued that conversation over several more beers. That was the most English I have spoken in a week and I found myself saying things in Spanish in response to English questions!

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