I come from down in the valley

cuenca Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 11 › view all entries
Endless views from the train
I left my Madrid hostel really early this morning, as I am already moving on to Cuenca. I didn't really know what to expect from this city, as I have never been here. But I thought it would be nice to be away from the big cities and see this smaller town. Many people visit on day-trips from Madrid, but I didn't want to rush. So I decided to stay here for two nights.

The train (bus is faster but train is cheaper) from Madrid is easy transport and it takes about three hours, through the beautiful infinite landscapes of Spain. I'm not used to have such endless views, since Belgium is really small and quite full of houses. Three hours on a train in my country is likely to take you over the border :) I really enjoy the train rides in Spain.
Endless views from the train
I had bought breakfast the evening before in a small bakery/candy store right of the Puerta del Sol. I forgot to write down the name but it is at the start of the Carrera de San Jerónimo on the right hand side. They had such lovely cookies there that I couldn't stop myself from buying way too much. Soooo good! While I was waiting for my connection (had to switch trains in Villaverde Bajo) I ate the first ones and they just made the perfect start of my day. That and the fact that I made it to the train really smoothly. I find the train system in Spain somewhat confusing sometimes, with the different types and names (the long distance ones, cencanias ones, etc). I had troubles last year in Barcelona to sort out which lines left from which station, and I didn't want to make the mistake again to turn up at the wrong place.
Endless views from the train
Atocha station in Madrid is pretty big and I left very early from the hostel just to make sure I had enough time to figure out where to go. But I must say, the system works really efficient and the RENFE staff are amazingly helpful. I wish we had our public transport sorted out like that where I live, trains are very often delayed and staff is far from being so attentive. Because everything went so smooth, I was far too early for my train and I actually took a train earlier. I don't think I was allowed to do that, as I had booked my ticket in advance and so I had a reserved seat in the 8u20am train. But it was only one stop to Villaverde Bajo on a cercanias ride, so I figured it wouldn't matter that much. From there, I had to wait for the other train anyway, as it was the first one of the day. Cookie-time :)

The further train ride to Cuenca went swift and so I arrived perfectly on time.
On my way up to the old city
My hostel in Cuenca is called Hostal Posada Huecar, and it was somewhat in between the old and the new town. That was good news as it meant that I didn't have to carry my bag up all the way into the old streets. After check-in (the room was really nice) I went out to start sightseeing. And the climb to the old town was one I really didn't want to do with my backpack! Maybe I took the wrong way up, there might be less steep roads. But the one I took (and kept taking for the rest of my stay) was really bloody hard! I'm not saying that I have the perfect form but I can do some walking. Yet this climb... I always took a short break halfway just to catch my breath. And I always was pretty much sweating by the time I walked out on the Plaza Mayor.
On my way up to the old city

The weather was better than it was yesterday in Madrid but it still wasn't really warm today. Especially the wind turned out to be quite chilly. Yet on the Plaza Mayor in the sun it was rather pleasant still, I sat down on a terrace here to have lunch and it was so lovely. The first "real day" of my holiday :) And a lovely bocadillo de manchego. How do I love manchego! I got some stunning tapas too, and a great view of the town hall and the cathedral to top it. Nice!

For the rest of the day I mainly did a lot of walking through the little streets. Apart from that, I went to see the castle and the views, the cathedral and the little Iglesia de San Pedro.
On my way up to the old city
The San Pedro church wasn't really worth the 1 EUR entry fee, although it has a chapel with a really nice wooden roof, and you can go up on the tower to have some views. Apparently, when I entered the church it must have been 1u50pm or something, but I didn't know that as I hadn't checked the time. So I was just up the tower when the ticket-sale guy came up. He didn't seem happy at all and wanted me to come down. I didn't understand what he was saying at first, so I thought maybe I wasn't allowed to go up the tower. The door was quite tucked away and the entrance not really advertised, so maybe I should have stayed downstairs? But as the man kept repeating his rant on the way down, finally it occurred to me that he just wanted to go and have lunch. Damn! Siesta already started two minutes ago and me still on the tower, that kind of pissed him of.
The cathedral
I think he shouldn't have sold me a ticket, like, two minutes before closing time... But well, after all he turned out not to be that angry. And I was glad that he actually came to find me up there instead of assuming the church was empty and closing it up for the afternoon. That would have been some long siesta for me, locked up in the church with no food! I met that man again later on in town, while he was having dinner, and he was much friendlier than. He must have been just really hungry :) That said, I have only two pictures taken from the tower... which is a pity still.

So that was my day today. It was very nice. Sweet little streets to get lost in, nice views from the top of the city, good food and improving weather. I will not complain :) I've been singing that Bruce Springsteen song "The River" to myself all day today.
The cathedral
It popped in my head while I was making my first climb to the city and it didn't get out. That song has absolutely NO relevance at all, except for the opening line. That becomes painfully clear whenever I make my way up to the Plaza Mayor. Luckily there might be some relevance in the "down to the river" part as well, on my way back to the hostal :) Which in fact, is right beside the Huecar.
derekbilldaly says:
Looks like a lovely city and hey, any day thats makes me think of a song by the Boss is never a bad day!! ;o)
Posted on: Aug 10, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Endless views from the train
Endless views from the train
Endless views from the train
Endless views from the train
Endless views from the train
Endless views from the train
On my way up to the old city
On my way up to the old city
On my way up to the old city
On my way up to the old city
On my way up to the old city
On my way up to the old city
The cathedral
The cathedral
The cathedral
The cathedral
Street up to the Mirador
Street up to the Mirador
Street up to the Mirador
Street up to the Mirador
Little church
Little church
I love this ceiling
I love this ceiling
I love this ceiling!
I love this ceiling!
Views from on top of the church
Views from on top of the church
Views from on top of the church. Y…
Views from on top of the church. …
Dramatic clouds
Dramatic clouds
View over the old town
View over the old town
View over the old town
View over the old town
Nice views
Nice views
Nice views
Nice views
View over the old town
View over the old town
Back down
Back down
Back down
Back down
Back down
Back down
Old tower
Old tower
cuenca Hostels review
Nice place on the edge of the old town
I stayed in this hostel for two nights and I liked my stay here. The room I got (I had booked a single room but I got a double) was pretty spacious. T… read entire review
cuenca
photo by: yoanna87