We have just spent three days in Cuenta, a not so interesting town south east of Madrid. While the town may not have been at the top of my most interesting list, the surrounding countryside was a pleasure to explore.
I may be being a little harsh when saying the town is not particularly interesting, it has hanging houses, a cathedral that is rather unique in it’s design, a bridge that is high enough to create a bit of concern for those that are acrophobic and lots of walks along it’s picturesque rivers. The best thing about staying in Cuenca is the countryside. It is a beautiful part of Spain with plenty of geographic features and walks to keep you entertained.
We left town most days to explore the surrounding countryside, we visited the Enchanted City (Cuidad Enchantada)) an interesting area of rock formation that, if you have a little imagination, look like animals and other objects like ships.
The same day went to a spot called the Devil’s Window and walked around exploring the valley. Kate took me through a tunnel that probably had a dozen vipers in it ( I didn’t see any but I’m sure they were there). The land is a mix of very dry looking hillsides with picturesque (but ironically no picture of it) rivers flowing along. We ended the day with an ice cream, and Kate had one that was a local specialty based on a dessert. It may have been the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted and neither of us can remember what it is called!!
The second day in Cuenca was a big hiking day (well for us it was) we spent the morning at a place called Los Torcas. These are sink-hole like geographic features grouped into an area that isn’t very large (30-40 kilometre area). Some looked like a large round dip in the ground with pine trees growing in them while others had full blown cliffs that you would need to abseil down to get to the bottom and ecosystems that looked quite different to the surrounding forest. The Torcas were interesting to look at and the walk was an excellent way to spend three hours or so on a beautiful day.
After leaving the Los Torcas area we drove to a town called Valeria via some forestry roads. Think the same width as at home but tarsealed 🙂
Valeria is the site of a few reincarnations of a town by the look of it. It has the current village, the ruins of a medieval village and it is also the archaeological site excavating an Ancient Roman city. This place was very interesting with plaques (in Spanish, so we didn’t get the detail due to our lack of language) outlining what the city looked like and also the layout of a number of buildings they had excavated. We had read that there was a Roman Bridge down in the valley from the ruins so we went for a walk to have a look. It certainly wasn’t the biggest Roman bridge we’ve seen (we visited Pont du Gard last trip) but it is still pretty cool knowing you are walking over something that was built close to two thousand years ago.
While it may have seemed like I was being harsh on Cuenca at the start of this post I think I would visit again. It has so much to offer, lots of hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and other outdoor activities. The restaurants we went to served good food at a good price and it has ice cream by a name we can’t remember that is worth visiting for!