Posted by: travelrat | December 28, 2009

The Monkey, the Frog and the Astronaut

The 'Monkey'

The Astronaut

Salamanca 20th/21st September 2009.

Around mid-day, we arrived at the Hotel Plaza de Castellanos, near the centre of Salamanca. My unfounded misgivings about there being too many distractions for a successful programme were, apparently, shared by the MC, for he requested that our first ‘one to ones’ were held in, or near, the hotel.


The hotel is situated in a little square, which it shares with a cafe/bar, an imposing Gothic church and a convent.


But, it wasn’t long before we were ranging further afield. First, to the Cathedral, where Carolina offered to show me the figure of a ‘monkey eating an ice cream’ among the carvings around the door. It didn’t look like a monkey, though … more like a chimera dreamed up by a computer games designer smoking some serious stuff.


And, what he was holding may have looked like an ice cream cone to some, but to me, it looked like … well, I’ll leave it to your imagination!

The Frog ... according to Carolina

Can you see it now?

But, what was this? Among the carvings around the door was a helmeted, space-suited figure!! Carolina explained that the figure of the astronaut had been added during renovations in 1992, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America .


Then, we went to see more carvings, this time at the University. If you can find a frog, said Carolina, you will pass all your exams (I wish I’d known that fifty years ago!) The frog did take some finding … I only got it with the help of Carolina and the zoom lens on my camera.


However, when we visited again a couple of days later, Carlos said that was not the frog. But, he wouldn’t say where it really was.


  1. Oh yes, I can see the frog on top of the skull. He’s crouching. And er, that’s a very well-endowed ice cream that monkey’s eating. Nudge nudge wink wink…

  2. Those masons often had a sense of humour in the images they created – glad to see that hasn’t changed.

    • I’m going on hearsay, but I’m told there is a carving in Salisbury Cathedral which is a very unflattering likeness of the then Bishop of Salisbury, with whom the mason had issues.

      Still trying to work out the significance of the chess-piece in this carving, though. 😀

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