Postcard from Salamanca, Spain: Books spoiling Plaza Mayor?

Can’t believe it. Never ever thought I would do it. Complain about a book festival. Me?

The San Antonio Book Festival is my favorite event at home. But….

Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor is reputedly the must stunning plaza in Spain.

And, as such, it is overrun with tourists. People will wait in line a half-hour for ice cream.

We spent a week in Salamanca, and the entire time the plaza was filled with inartistic booths for a book festival.

During much of the daytime on weekdays, they were shuttered. Simply blocking the view. People willing to sit on the plaza were confronted with their almost trailer-court appearance.

But, when the Book Fair booths were open, things did not improve. Pre-fab booths, lacking in any customized personality, did not address the surrounding square. They faced only inward, addressing each other. Treating the Plaza Mayor as though it were a shabby backyard alley.

For people ringing the square, they faced just plain walls.

Definitely the wrong place for the Book Fair.

The one in Lisbon a year ago had personality.

The same type of cubicle setups followed us from Salamanca to Madrid, but parked in a linear park capable of accommodating the intrusion.

Hope the festival in Salamanca rethinks its plaza invasion. Or at least opens booths outward so the book vendors and browsers interact with and contribute to the liveliness of the spectacular surrounding plaza.


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