I’ve been visiting my sister in Salamanca, Spain, where she’s spent the last six months studying at a university old as Oxford and living with a lovely middle-aged woman named Teeny. Since we’ve been here I’ve been struck by the number of striking textual or literary images I’ve seen – the graffitti that isn’t advocating “solidaridad” against the Spanish government’s austerity measures tends to be quotations by Lorca and Marquez.

So, since I have a quick break from touring with a steady wifi connection, I thought I’d post a couple vacation snaps. Above, from inside the medieval tower of the Catedral Nueva (the new cathedral, “the last breath of the Gothic style”), cascading pages from a sacred music book emerging into the light. More below the break.


According to my sister, wealthy students, on learning they’d passed their exams, once threw lavish parties for the whole city, including bullfights. They wrote their names everywhere, apparently in bull’s blood, which, when baked by the sun, etched themselves into the sandstone university buildings.


Literary graffitti quoting Gabriel García Marquez, which reads, “Lo único que me duele de morir, es que no sea de amor” – enigmatic, my sister says, because of the lovely Spanish subjunctive mood that builds ambiguity into the grammatical structure: “The only thing that bothers me about dying is that it isn’t because of love.”