It rained and rained today all over France and Spain, so we drove to Salamanca, about 4 hours from Biarritz to prepare for the arrival of friends in 10 days. The northern part of the drive was through the western edge of the Pyrenees, with tunnels (in some cases kilometres long) dug through the mountains.
Salamanca is an ancient city, predating the Romans! From Wikipedia:
The city was founded in the pre-Ancient Rome period by the Vettones, a Celtic tribe, as one of a pair of forts to defend their territory near the Duero river. In the 3rd century BC, Hannibal laid siege to the city. With the fall of the Carthaginians to the Romans, the city of Helmantica, as it was known, began to take more importance as a commercial hub in the Roman Hispania due to its favorable location. Salamanca lay on a Roman road, known as the Vía de la Plata, which connected it with Emerita Augusta (present day Mérida) to the south and Asturica Augusta (present-day Astorga) to the north. Its Roman bridge dates from the 1st century, and was a part of this road.
Its old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which we will visit tomorrow.
We arrived in time for dinner, and had spectacular tapas in Plaza Major, a four sided structure enclosing a square, that took 27 years to build.
Thats all for today, tomorrow we will cycle the Via de la Plata, a Roman road still used by pilgrims.