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Cuenca, the monumental city

Cuenca, the monumental city

Freelancing means spending most of my time at home with only my dogs for company, looking at the same view through the window, in a work-induced trance. My telephone is set to remind me to get up and move about every 25 minutes! Perhaps that’s why when I am not translating I am usually dreaming about going away, preferably as far as possible but usually on weekend breaks.

In the Region of Castile-La Mancha is the city of Cuenca. The historic centre is classed as UNESCO World Heritage for its numerous monuments and it looks out over a rocky canyon. With plenty of natural beauty and attractions nearby, it’s the perfect choice for a fun weekend.

In contrast to the Costa Blanca, Cuenca feels more old-style Spanish. Of course you’ll still see plenty of visiting tourists because it is a real attraction, but the menus in the restaurants have avoided that ‘international’ style and feature a lot of Manchego cheese, chorizo, TRIPE and hearty soups. Don’t worry though! You won’t be piling on the pounds because when you come to Cuenca you WALK!

We made straight for the tourism office for maps and advice. They were very helpful, but my biggest piece of advice for those of you deciding to visit Cuenca is to WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. With charming cobbled streets and medieval buildings looking out over wonderful views and endless picturesque nooks and crannies, you won’t want to go back to the hotel. By the end of the afternoon I had taken hundreds of photographs and my feet were killing me!

Cuenca is home to some interesting museums, so if you tire of wandering the streets (which you won’t), you can always check out some contemporary art or learn about astronomy at the Castile-La Mancha Science Museum.

The following day we drove to La Ciudad Encantada (Enchanted City) along excellent roads. This geological site is dotted with eroded rocks that resemble faces, a seal, a turtle, a bear, etc and it’s a lot of fun. Again, expect to walk a long distance and, if it’s hot, take some water. This was followed by a trip to the Nacimiento del Río Cuervo (source of the River Cuervo), which involved another walk through enormous pine forests to see springs and waterfalls.

After a hearty dinner at the hotel and some excellent local wine, tired and happy, we had an excellent night’s sleep. Plenty of fresh air, interesting monuments and museums, delicious food and some long walks to get back in shape after a week at the computer screen. Cuenca is a great choice for a weekend break. When are you going?

 Juliet Allaway

Written by editor