Thursday, March 6, 2008

La Alberca, Spain – Going back in time

La Alberca is a historic village located in the Salamanca region of Spain. The tiny, cobblestone streets are lined with buildings dating from Columbus’s time and before. In this tiny village you can find traditional life mixed with modern day. Off the northwest corner of the main square you will find a store specializing in fair trade goods and some organic treats. Donkeys carting manure filled baskets walk down the streets, as do men carrying tools to work the land. Numerous stores sell the famous local delicacy, “Pata negro”, meaning black leg or hoof, a special “ham” from Spanish black pigs that eat only acorns from cork oak trees. This meat really should not be called ham as there is nothing remotely similar to American ham, rather it is closer to prosciutto. It is a dark meat with a rich and unusual taste, and is very expensive.
There are biking and walking trails in the area, and nearby, the monastery of La Peña de Francia sits about 5,200 feet high on a mountain, with amazing views. It is known for its black Madonna and sanctuary, as well as its guesthouse and café.
It takes almost four hours to reach La Alberca from Madrid, but it is worth it for the time travel experience.

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