From orange groves to mountain passes.
Trip Start May 30, 2013
21Trip End Nov 25, 2013
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Where I stayed
What I did
The travelling was most enjoyable, with rolling countryside, lots of cropping, olive groves, wheat fields freshly planted, and fields of young sunflowers (what a sight they will be in bloom) .Wind farms on the peaks and lots of solar panels on rooftops of many of the little villages
The drive took nearly 4 hours to Cuenca and it is another World Heritage site….
.A spectacular spot with its fame being due to the famous Casas Colgadas ( Hanging Houses) . Arriving later in the day we walked through the newer part (where we were staying ) to the river that runs around the base and access to hilltop medieval Cuenca - sounds like QWENKA.Walking up the ‘oneway vehicle access’ hillside, we only had to look up and see the houses and balconies hanging out into the void above. Taking in the wonderful buildings and sheer age of the surroundings, we were glad to be able to return the next morning - getting there early (before the tourists), by taking the vehicle right up through the old village and parking at the top, then wandering slowly down through the little lanes till we reached the Cathedral and square. The original fortress was built by the Arabs in 7th century , but Napoleon was responsible for its complete destruction. (stupid man!!)
We had been told not to miss another site 35 miles North East of Cuenca , known as the Enchanted City, (or La Cuidad Encantada) so set off after our wonderful morning to explore another one of the world’s wonders - right up in the hills , amongst a pine forest, lies a field of what looks like “Giants marbles”….this national site is of interest due to its huge rock formations , that over time have been sculptured by water, ice and wind and taken on shapes we recognise in other forms- e.g
Each evening we sat in the small Piazza , in the shade of the large oak trees (sun still high in the sky at 8pm) either eating an icecream or a cold drink, taking in the ‘people’ and listening to the wandering musicians - always with their hat out, for a few euros, but really adding to the atmosphere
Our last morning and we headed South East towards Teruel .,stopping at “The devils window” along the journey, to contemplate the drop and depth of the river Jucars ravine more than 200 metres below, located in the Southern Aragon region
Teruel…another fortified old Spanish city, but with a more modern look,. Having been flattened by Franco during the Spanish unrest. 140,000 lives were lost in a 2 month period from December 37 till February 1938, when Franco and his troops battled for control of the town ,and its inhabitants and destroyed many beautiful buildings
A 2 hour drive back down to the coast , passing under a field of wind farms on the final stand of mountain ranges (all looking like giant children waving their arms in the wind), to home ….. finally arriving back in Alcoceber ( our base) in the sunshine at 9pm , after another 3 days full of amazing sights, leaving lasting memories .
To celebrate Garry turning 70!!!! We joined with friends on Tuesday at a seaside café and enjoyed a ‘menu del dia’ (meal of the day) for 12 Euros each- 4 courses and wine:
great value !!!!! the lovely Spanish owner even providing a bottle of bubbles as he came out with the “celebratory” burning 2 candles “70”…..a 3 hour lovely Spanish luncheon.......
7 ‘Anglo saxons’ and 1 KIWI (me) - unfortunately socialising with the Spanish people is out of the question with the language barrier…..they do try to converse, but apart from picking out the odd word in ‘written word‘, it is simply impossible to understand them. I searched in vain on a few occasions for anyone whom I thought may speak English over the past 3 days, when we were struggling with directions - when you think maybe you have a possibility , “any Englaise? I ask… ……….”” they launch into a fountain of Spanish and you are left shaking your head in vain- till you can stop them. Apparently the 2nd most noisiest race on the planet - and we believe it!!!!
Next blog, see you from Nice France. G & J.