La Alberca – 2/11 – 4/11

We met a lovely English couple in Caceres who were on their way to the Canary Islands for the winter and they had just come from a little place called ‘La Alberca’ and said that it was an interesting town with shop after shop of ‘Jamon’, so as it was roughly on our route back to Salamanca we thought we would give it a go.

We knew that the weather was due to change on Sunday, but thankfully we managed to enjoy the beautiful scenery whilst driving up to La Alberca which sits at about 1050m above sea level. The winding roads twisted through the valleys and then up the side of a mountain giving us a fantastic view of an autumnal mixture of colours and textures of trees and shrubs. When we arrived, we parked in the ‘Aire’ which is a large car park just above the town which was very quiet with water and waste facilities for when we needed them…. all free of charge.

Optimistically, we set out to walk with camera over the shoulder walking towards the grey clouds which were closing in on the trees above us. Within ten minutes it had started to rain, thankfully we had the waterproofs in the bag so we continued up to the ‘view point’ …. Unfortunately only to ‘view’ very little 😦

On our way back down the hill it stopped raining so we continued down to have a quick walk round the town – a proper higgledy piggledy mountain village with shop after shop of ‘Jamon’ legs hanging from the ceiling – I did joke and say that if we are going to get stuck in the mountains somewhere I think this is the place … lots of the best quality ham, good cheese, some interesting breads and cakes and good wine …..

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We settled in for a quiet night and woke to a dry morning although the grey clouds were looming in the valley. After our normal morning Tabata exercise we headed back into the town to buy some Jamon Iberica de Bellota (That is ham from Iberican pigs which have been fed only on Acorns), Morcilla (Black Pudding made with breadcrumbs and spices), Salchicha (Dried Sausage), Farinato (A local speciality which sounds disgusting when I tell you that the ingredients are breadcrumbs, pig fat and spices, but is actually quite tasty), and Rosquillas (which are shaped like a donut, but cooked in different ways to either turn out like a tasteless Yorkshire pudding with a bit of icing on top, very light short bread or a bit of a stale slightly greasy donut ….. we would recommend the ‘very light shortbread’ version which had a very slight Aniseed flavour …. although I am sure you probably guessed that we weren’t quite so keen on the other two from my description!

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We got back to the motorhome as the clouds were settling in just above us, covering the forest. And just as we were talking about going for a nice long walk the skies opened and wind start to blow ……. Three games of settlers, several cups of tea and hot chocolate, and one book finished later and it was still raining so we settled in for the night and switched to wine 🙂

We decided to cook some Morcilla and Farinato to eat with our ‘French’ style dinner of Cheese, meats and bread – throwing in a tomato salad to make us feel a little better about the pig fat we were consuming …. Delicious – the Morcilla was particularly good with a really lovely spiced flavour.

The rain and wind continued through the night and for once the weather forecast was correct – unfortunately – it was cold…. So cold we actually turned the heating on. It must have dropped to nearly zero over night as at 10am this morning is was still only 3 degrees…. We were lucky it wasn’t snow, or were we….?

Once we emptied and refilled the necessary bits we set off back towards Salamanca to see if the Satellite unit was ready and find out whether we could get someone to look at the oven door. The box hadn’t been activated when we arrived, but they pointed us in the direction of a Domestic service centre where we found an engineer who started taking the oven door apart but soon stopped after he realised he wasn’t getting to the problem, made a call and told us to come back in the morning when another engineer would be able to disconnect everything and take it apart bit by bit to get to the cause of the problem …. My worry is that there were parts of the conversation that included ‘disconnecting the gas from the unit’ and ‘taking the fridge freezer unit out’ – both of which are completely reasonable …. but Keith and I both looked at each other and we were both thinking the same ….. ‘we really want to get this fixed, but what problems are they going to introduce when they start taking it apart’ and ‘is anything going to be working by the time they tell us that the part will take 2 months to get in and they can’t put it back together until they get it’?

…. Confidence – to be fair the guy who was looking at it talked the talk and looked pretty knowledgeable about what he was doing, so watch this space….

We got a call when we were leaving the Domestic engineer to say that the unit was now active, so we headed back to pick it up and as it was now getting dark, decided to stay the night on the entrance to the campsite we stayed at last week as it has now closed for the winter….

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