So the beginning of my second week in Salamanca saw my old classmate return to the USA and a new classmate from China arrive. I also got a new teacher who is very cool and took great delight in helping me explain to my new classmate how Spanish does and doesn’t deal with non-binary pronouns.
I feel like I am making real progress with my Spanish through the concentrated learning and just being surrounded by it. My plan had been to move on at the end of this week and do some walks in the mountains south of Salamanca but I’m now thinking of staying for another week – not only because of the Spanish, but also because the forecast is for thunderstorms all next week, and I think I’d rather be in a classroom than up the side of a mountain. I’ll decide tomorrow.
My outing today was to El Cielo de Salamanca. In the 1400s Salamanca University started teaching astronomy – as part of it’s medical degree. So lacking a modern planetarium they painted the night sky on a vaulted ceiling. It is very beautiful.
There has been on-going debate as to whether the configuration of the stars allows for an exact date for the painting and there is an enduring story that it does – and that the only time the configuration has repeated is quite recently. However, it’s pretty obvious it doesn’t – there simply isn’t enough information in the painting and any configuration would have repeated many times. There is thought to have been more of the painting originally, and if that existed, the story might be different. As it is it’s a nice anecdote for tour guides to tell their flocks, but the painting just has to be appreciated on its own merits.
Personally, the bit of the story I love best is that this was created to study medicine – got to know those star signs for the best results.