"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."
C. S. Lewis

Sights and Smells of Alcala

21 May 2012

Alcala de Henares

We are traveling in beautiful Spain with our friends and visiting our daughter. Absorbing the smells, sights and flavors of Spain once again brings back so many memories from our last visit here. The friendliness of the people, the language, architecture - there are so many things unique to this country.

Upon our arrival yesterday evening we had a light dinner of "boccadillo" which is a sandwich on a delicious bread similar to a french roll with meat and cheese. Simple but tasty. We were introduced to a typical dessert called "Costrada" which is from the city of Alcala de Henares where we are staying. It is similar to what we call a "Napoleon" - paper thin pastry filled with vanilla cream, dusted with powdered sugar and sprinkled with almonds. Every pastry shop has their version - delicious and not overly sweet.

Everything seems to taste better when shared with special friends and family - savoring the tastes and trying new foods.

The town of Alcala is one of the oldest in Spain. It is famous for the University founded in 1499. It is registered on Unesco's World Heritage sites - the location that Christopher Columbus met Queen Isabella and the seat of renaissance culture and education. Scholars at the University produced the first polyglot Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and Latin.

The birthplace of Miguel Cervantes the creator of Don Quixote this town is about 20 miles from the capitol of Madrid.

Something you can't miss is the stork nests atop the high points of the city - they are everywhere and return to the same nests year after year.

There is so much history here and you feel, as you walk through the narrow streets that you have stepped back in time.

When traveling to Spain, Alcala de Henares shouldn't be missed. We actually stayed here and traveled to Madrid for sightseeing since it is much quieter than the hustle and bustle of Madrid.

The symbol of the treasured storks is everywhere to be seen on gates, in relief on buildings.