They say that there is a village at the bottom of Lake Sanabria. Its name was Valverde de Lucerna and it was a prosperous place full of rich people. One Midsummer’s Eve, a pilgrim appeared amidst a large storm. No matter how much he asked for help, the village people closed their doors on him and only the workers in the bakery took him in. As a punishment, the pilgrim flooded the village with a curse and only saved the bread factory from the waters. This is the legend that has been passed down from generation to generation in this area of Zamora surrounded by mountains.

The waters of Lake Sanabria quietly splash the shores, ignorant of the rumours they cause, but a small island rises stubbornly in the middle of the lake to feed the legend. The truth is that the waters were there long before the village could be built, not in liquid, but rather in solid form. 100,000 years ago, during the Würm glaciations, the ice built up and produced the largest natural lake in the peninsula. This dichotomy between legend and reality fills the valley just as the different lakes and lagoons splashing it do.

The beauty of the landscape, its steep borders and the tranquillity of the silent waters have inspired the minds both of the people of the area and its visitors. One such person was Miguel de Unamuno, who set his work San Manuel Bueno Mártir in Valverde de Lucerna. Unamuno was maybe the most illustrious, but not the only, admirer of this corner of Zamora. While in its depths there sleeps the village that never existed, on the surface swimmers, soft water sailors and nature lovers enjoyed the goodwill of this lake without worrying whether it was born from a curse or a glacier.

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16/11/2013 04:37h

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