Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘La Alberca

“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane.” My Fair Lady

Here are more pictures from my favourite places in Spain.


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La Alberca

flower strewn balcony

Darlene in La Alberca

citizen of La Alberca

These are just a few of my favourite pictures. I may post more from time to time.

All pictures were taken by Darlene Foster and Paul Foster over the course of 8 years.


I want to share an amazing experience I had a few years ago that I will never forget.

Imagine waking up each morning in your own villa, to fresh mountain air, dew glistening on terracotta-tiled roofs and the melody of Spanish songbirds. Imagine wandering around well-kept, lush grounds, as picturesque as a pastoral painting, a pond to contemplate by, a welcoming pool, shady trees and sunny meadows. This was not a dream. I actually enjoyed eight days in this four star resort, nestled in the mountains of Spain – for free!

I had come to this surreal spot as a participant in a program called Pueblo Ingles. All I was required to do to enjoy this marvellous place at no cost, was speak English all day to Spanish speaking professionals who wished to improve their communication English. That was not difficult for me, as I love to talk. I was only responsible for the cost of the flight to Madrid.

Everything else was included such as a fabulous buffet breakfast to please any pallet. Chocolate filled croissants piled high, wedges of Spanish Tortillas, exquisite hams and cheeses from the local farmers, fresh fruit, creamy yogurts, fresh baked bread, toasted or not, with the finest olive oil drizzled over or, for the brave, spicy Spanish tomato sauce, and the smoothest coffee I have ever tasted. The “work” of communicating in English began at the breakfast table where two English speaking and two Spanish participants were seated together. The first breakfast proved awkward as the Spanish tried to keep up with the various English accents – Canadian, American, Australian, British and Welsh.

Lunch and dinner comprised of two equally delicious homemade three-course meals, served by an accommodating staff, complimented with a carafe of local red wine. We shared stories, experiences, idioms and culture with the Spanish-speaking participants while we ate. In between meals, we conducted one-hour one to one lessons while going for walks, making phone calls, relaxing by the pool, or discussing business practices; all in English of course. The only rule was, no speaking Spanish. By the end of 8 days, the Spanish were able to follow our conversations quite easily. One gentleman from Pamplona said he was starting to dream in English.

A short walk from the resort was the medieval village of La Alberca where we were magically transported back to the 15th century. We followed the narrow cobblestone streets that wound their way past wine cellars, stone watering fountains, huge wooden doors, houses built the year Columbus sailed and a cathedral with a stork nest perched on top and a stone pig on the steps. Bright flowers spilled out of windows and balconies. The older folks, dressed in the local costume, nodded solemnly as we passed by. I had fun choosing a set of castanets and a package of saffron from a local vender to take home. Our visit included a medieval feast at The Cathedral restaurant and a chance to try drinking wine from a wine skin without spilling it down our front! The Spanish proved to be much better at this.

Every night at the resort the entertainment made us laugh so our sides hurt and, for those who were able to keep up with the fun loving Spanish, there was dancing until the wee hours. Thank heaven for the tradition of siesta.

From the moment I arrived, until the tearful goodbyes eight days later, I shared many interesting stories and conversations, formed amazing friendships and created wonderful memories. The warmth, sense of humour and eagerness of the Spanish participants, taught me more about Spanish culture than I could ever learn from books. I hope to return one day. If you are looking for an inexpensive, fun filled holiday, I suggest you check it out. To learn more about this program and the various sites, visit http://www.puebloingles.com/

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