On my second trip to Spain, I have the opportunity to go in a little town south of Salamanca up in the mountains called La Alberca. It was a 30 minute walk from the hotel I was staying in the outskirts of town, about an hour south of the Spanish university city.
I spent a little bit of time in the Spanish countryside outside Salamanca and it was a completely different environment from Madrid or Barcelona. In order to get to this town in the mountains, you have to take a train to Salamanca then take a taxi or drive a car to get to the mountain town of La Alberca.
This town surprised me a great deal. It reminded me of a small village in Germany where the architecture of the buildings involved half-timbered exterior made of lumber, plaster and stone. When we arrived in La Alberca, it was half an hour after siesta started so the streets were actually empty except for a small group of women drumming and parading down the street. The cobblestone streets were uneven and there are shops open selling all kinds of leather goods, surplus and food for visitors. For a small town like this, I was surprised the shops were open during siesta hours.
We finally arrived at the town square where most of the shops, bars and restaurants are located. The town’s main hall was here as well and in the middle of the square was a giant stone cross with a water fountain at its base. There were a handful of tourists walking around town all heading to the town square. Just around the corner is the church which had a very simple yet a bit medieval exterior but closed to the public to visit. This area of Spain prides itself for the production of the famous Spanish ham called Jamon Serrano, so you will find a stone statue of a hog just outside the church doors.
Siesta in Spain is about two hours after lunch (which starts at about 2:00pm) so we had a good hour to explore the town. By the time we started heading back, the locals came out of the woodwork most had congregated at the town square meeting friends for drinks and perhaps gossiping. This is one community where it is clear where people knows each other and everybody knows their name. The town of La Alberca is a good place to spend an afternoon in Spain.Google+