Change over time
As times change, the majority of the locals – whose families have lived in their pallozas for three or four generations – have had to modernize. They have reconfigured and redesigned interiors, replaced iconic roofs with cheaper and more accessible metal options, and in some cases converted their pallozas into tourist businesses, such as museums, hotels or restaurants.
For seven years, Miguel Angel Corullón Caurel and his wife Patricia Prieto Mauriz have been running the restaurant La Palloza de Balboa in Balboa, specializing in local and traditional gastronomy from the Leones Ancares region. Their building was built by the Balboa Neighborhood Council using materials recycled from old pallozas in 1994; it was first used as a concert hall, but soon became a restaurant. “It’s the most scenic company we’ve ever had. We felt in love with the surroundings,” Prieto said, sitting in the shade of an old birch tree.
When they took over the business, their first change was to make the palloza more energy efficient. Without the usual stable for animals, living compartments and all-day fire, and with the addition of many new windows, they struggled to keep the 280m² restaurant warm, especially when winter temperatures can down to -10°C. After the first year, they installed underfloor heating, roof fans to draw hot air down, and LED lights to offset energy consumption. In a structure made of natural materials and surrounded by nature, maintaining the building and keeping pests away is another challenge.
“But it’s worth it when you see the amazed faces of the kids walking into such a unique restaurant,” Corullón said. After all, modernized or not, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.
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