Sunday 13 September
Picked up my smurf blue rental car, a Skoda. Enjoyed driving through the Spanish countryside to Cuenca, a medieval town 2.5 hours east of Madrid.
I stayed in a great hotel in Cuenca, for only €28 (Hostal Posada Huecar). Luxurious, big, charming room, balcony with beautiful views, nice bathroom. Only it has thin walls (or my neighbor was especially noisy, farting hard :-)).
Stumbled upon an artisan market in central Cuenca with a medieval theme, and a play being performed in the street. Cheeses, cakes, leather items were being sold. I bought two leather bracelets. Enjoyed the vibe while sitting on sunny church steps, listened to street musicians, wandered past stalls… And through the town.
Stumbled upon an amazing sunny terrace overlooking a valley and the rest of the town. Sipped a few beers there, with free tapa.
Went and looked for the hanging houses after dark.
Monday 14 September
I went to the hanging houses again, took photos. Just when I left suddenly a lot more people showed up, so I had been just in time.
Later discovered that a lot of the ‘hanging houses’ cannot be recognized as such from the outside. They are attached to a vertical wall of rock for multiple floors, the lowest floor reach another street way below. All but the top one have the vertical rock face as back wall. I don’t know if my silly drawing explains it 🙂
Ciudad Encantada / Enchanted city
I drove to nature park Ciudad Encantada, about 45 minutes from Cuenca. It was just a small side note in my guidebook, not even one of this province’s highlights. But WOW! What a stunning park! I wonder why it isn’t more famous.
Weirdly shaped rocks, eroded by water and time, are connected by an easy walking path. I spent 2 hours enjoying the walk and taking photos.
I started out following the guided group in Spanish which cost €1 more, but pretty soon I was bored by all the extra details and just continued on my own.
On the drive over to this park I had come across a big parking lot which made me curious. A lady pointed out the viewpoint called Ventano del Diablo which was also stunning. It overlooked a valley with a turquoise river through it. From what they say it is not polluted, but certain natural particles give it that color.
I booked an evening walk through central Cuenca with a guide, a Dutch guy called Jurgen who’d been living here for over 25 years. He held the tour in Spanish. It started while it was still light and ended in the dark when the city also looks amazing.
The tour was very interesting and entertaining and the three other Spanish couples were friendly.