Wow! Just Wow. What a gorgeous area, and what a beautiful little village. La Alberca is a medieval town nestled in the mountains an hour+ south of Salamanca. And that hour changes everything.
From high plains of agriculture to rolling hills and mountains.This town is a time capsule and looks much like it did in the 1500’s. It sits at 3600 feet above sea level and the fall colors on the trees this time of year are reminiscent of the Smokey Mountains of eastern Kentucky. Looking out over them from my hotel gave me a flashback. So beautiful.
The timbered buildings with the mud chinking are all original. About 1000 people live in the area perched up here.
I am staying at Abadia de los Templarios. It’s an amazing property, complete with a petting zoo. The gentleman at the desk in the fortress castle-like hotel upgraded my room to a beautiful suite and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner and a massage. The best way to end a long day of travel. The spa here is warm, encased in a solarium with soaking baths from natural hot springs.
Here are some of the photos from the hotel and grounds. Including a friendly hotel goat wandering through the villas, and sunset and sunrise.
I’m volunteering with PuebloIngles. It’s an organization that teaches various languages using native speakers, and total immersion to help students learn in one-on-one situations, and group activities to get over the hump learning to listen and speak without fear. My only job, besides soaking up the beauty, is to speak english for the next 7 days to Spanish people sent here by Spanish companies and law firms. I can do that.
If you’ve ever done a corporate team building or off-site retreat, this is like that. I call it adult summer camp. Already, you can see the usual suspects emerge. The clowns, the shy ones who will take more prodding to participate. We have volunteers from 40’s – 80 (I think). And students from 30’s to 70. Most were sent by their companies to brush up their ability to communicate so they will be ready to accept promotions and help the business expand in the post-Covid era. All the protocols are being followed. And everyone is vaccinated.
I’m paired with a nice woman, who is also my room mate in a two bedroom villa. We will be spending a lot of time talking. She has good understanding of English but I will encourage her to practice speaking and will pepper her with questions to overcome her shyness. Already, she is doing great! She will be very tired when this is all over. But then, so will I. Correcting someone’s English does not come naturally to me. But it’s what I am here for.
Back to the property and the area. It will snow here over the next week. I’m crazy, but I can’t wait to see the flakes falling. So, for normal people, visiting in September/October is your best bet. Or late Spring. People often say they are looking for something to do at the end of their Camino. Especially people what have been to Spain many times. There are all the usual places – amazing tourist locales. But I have never heard of anyone coming to this hidden gem of an area in Salamanca. For natural beauty, hiking, river rafting, wine tasting and just poking through shops in a village, I can’t recommend La Alberca highly enough. A couple of days, post-Camino, spent relaxing at this spa would be the perfect ticket before re entry back into real-life.