Cuenca

I’ve been meaning to get this blog entry uploaded, but have gotten busy with our spring weekends that I didn’t get around to it.  So,  while Bryan was away recently, the kids and I planned a trip to a pretty town perched on a cliff called Cuenca.  It’s like a big version of the nearby Alcala de Jucar that we’ve been to many times.  Well, then we found out it was going to snow up in the mountains, and I found out Bryan would be coming home early….so it turned into a weekend of surprises.

We began after school Friday by wasting two hours searching the neighborhood for our cat Nutmeg who ended up being actually in the house, hiding in a clothes cabinet.  ugh.

So, late, we started  driving to the hamlet of Alarcon to take in the very picturesque castle and do a little reque-ing for future adventures along the river.  It was quite pretty, and lovely and a good break between here and there.

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Another trek up the road found us exploring the ruins of an old Roman town in Valeria.  Again, this is an area so close to us, and yet so very topographically different.  While we live on the plains, this area just north is a maze of canyons and cliffs.  It was fun to walk around the ruins, imagining life as a Roman soldier at this outpost – it would’ve been quite far into the conquered Iberian territories.  Super fun and neat and getting dark. Sad face.  But, we made the best of it and saw the whole loop.  There was a bit of a fiasco at the end when Avi’s hand slipped on the railed and got cut, then Zoe slipped on herself and hurt her knee, and then it started raining.  Back in the car everything was alright.

We drove to Cuenca in the dark and checked into our little apartment rental, got dried off and into bed.  In the middle of the night, Bryan came!   He and I planned to surprise the kids in the morning, but Zoe woke up when he got in.  It all worked out though, because we were all surprised by a dumping of snow in the morning.  And Avi was super excited to see daddy a few days early.  Cuenca is gorgeous in the snow.  It really makes the cliff stand out, and accentuates the jumble of alleyways and houses hanging off the edge.  Plus it was quite fun.  We walked a big loop around town, and stopped at the topmost park to make some snowmen and throw snowballs.  It was beautiful.

 

My plan after that was to go see a place called the City of Rocks or Ciudad Encantada, but the snow was so deep these crazy Spanish kids got their car stuck on the mountain pass on the way.  We (Bryan)  helped them out, but they stupidly kept driving UPWARDS!   So dumb.  And then they got stuck, real stuck, and when other people showed up we decided to go around the long way.  To no avail, however, as the alternate routing was closed.  So we pressed on, with another hanging village called Albarracin as our goal.  I wanted to see this place because there are, nearby, some very cool cave man petroglyphs.  It will have to wait.  After driving around a couple hours we could not find a mountain pass that was cleared – one was done to the top, but apparently  the state of Aragon does the rest and hadn’t caught up; Bryan had to back down a few miles.  yucky.  We stayed in Cuenca another night at the only cheapo place available.   Worked out well, though, because there was a good Chinese restaurant next door (which we had to wait until 8pm to open).

In the morning, we slept in and then made our way back to the Roman ruins in Valeria to see them in better light (and since we now had the time).   Bryan quite enjoyed joining us!  The kids were nuts, though, making snow angels and sliding everywhere on their coats.   By the time we made it home to the sunny plains of La Mancha, the snow was a memory.

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