Monday, 2018 April 23

We were up early today because we had an early train to catch. As was becoming our custom, we were doorbusters at the hotel breakfast.

Then it was the metro to Valencia Joaquin Sorolla, another train station located just slightly south of Valencia Nord. We purchased round-trip tickets on the high-speed rail to Cuenca station. They cost about €120 total, which seemed a bit pricey at the time. But oh they were worth it. The high speed rail was incredible. The seats were comfortable with a ton of legroom. The ride was incredibly smooth. My favorite part was that there was a little speed indicator in our car. We peaked at 300 kph and seemed to cruise around 240 kph. According to Google, we made the 112 mile journey in 58 minutes.

The Cuenca station is quite a ways from the town itself so we took a taxi. As with all of our taxi rides in Spain, this was an adventure in and of itself. The driver was clearly a local and had no fear of the narrow streets, the hills, oncoming traffic, or anything else. He dropped us off at a great spot to see the hanging houses, but I was very happy to be safely on the ground again.

We started at the top - Cuenca's oldest sections are built on and in some pretty impressive hills and cliffs. (It has since expanded "downward", sprawling out onto smoother ground to the south and to the west.)

We started in front of the Parador de Cuenca hotel, on the east side of the valley. This gave us stunning views.

We crossed over Puente de San Pablo to get to the other side, which is where the majority of the old town was.

This was about as close as you could get to the hanging houses.

From here we walked downhill - we didn't have much of a choice - until we got to a spot where we could cut west and get to the other side of the hill.

We started working our way back up the hill towards Cuenca Cathedral.

There was one spot where you could cut through an alley and get to a very nice patio on the west side of the west hill.

We pressed on uphill and got to the cathedral. Honestly I hadn't really been expecting much, but this turned out to be one of my favorite experiences of the entire trip. The amount of craftsmanship was incredible. We paid a couple euros to get the English-language guide device. This was well worth it.

Leaving the cathedral, we started working our way downhill again and soon arrived at the more modern portion of the town. This felt like any other medium-sized town; we didn't even take any pictures, as there wasn't anything particularly notable.

We stopped at Bar las Turbas 24, a little cafe, and had drinks and snacks. We didn't stay long, however.

We saw about as much of the new town as we felt we needed to. Krista twisted her ankle at some point; it didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but it would come back to haunt us later in the trip. Eventually we found our way back to one of the parks and found a taxi to take us back to the train station.

This taxi ride was much less crazy than the one earlier today. We had some time to kill before our return train, so I had a couple beers and Krista had a couple Cokes at the station cafe. We also had some chips. Mostly we just read.

On the trip back the train stopped once, I believe near the town where our wine tour had focused.

Back in Valencia we caught the metro back closer to the Hard Rock, then stopped there for drinks and food. And, of course, another ATM stop.

Walking back to the hotel we stopped at Ingles Cortes. This was a bit of a letdown; we kept seeing it described as a mall, but it was just a big department store.

When we got back to the hotel the wifi code wasn't working; I had to go down to the front desk and get a new one. After that we just relaxed. I pulled more photos off of Krista's camera. I also figured out what I was going to buy as souvenirs and gifts.

Sunday, 2018 April 22 Tuesday, 2018 April 24