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Get thee to a nunnery

About 400 years ago, King Felipe II in his infinite wisdom decided that all ‘working ladies’ should be banished from the town of Salamanca during lent. It was too much of a temptation for the young scholars, you see. But, knowing that everybody’s got to make a living, he then opened a brothel across the river and got a priest – yes that’s right, a priest, to run it. The first Monday after Lent the ladies of the night rowed back across the river towards said priest and fiesta ensued.

Well the Salamancans, good Catholics that they are, celebrate this festival every year. It’s known as ‘Lunes de Agua’ (Monday of the Water) and all the women of the town bake a vegetarian’s nightmare of a pie that incorporates about six kinds of meat, and potatoes -the idea being that their men need sustenance for the night’s activites ahead.

This year, Lunes de Agua falls on the Monday after Easter. Ryanair flights depart from the UK and Dublin to Madrid, or from Stansted to Valladolid, which is about an hour’s train to Salamanca.

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