Cuenca – hanging off the cliffs

As you travel around Spain, you cannot fail but to appreciate how the landscape determined locations of towns and cities. IMG_1407IMG_1410Cuenca, in Castilla-La Mancha, is a medieval town located on the hill between two deep gorges of the Rios Jucar and Huecar that surround the town. Access to Cuenca was via a heavily defended bridge (dog-leg entry easily covered by archers) or through the castle wall (again a dog-leg entry) which stretched from river to river.

 

Ancient (14th century) houses still cling to the cliff walls, their timber balconies jutting out precariously over the steep defile. A wander through the narrow, winding streets transports you back in time.IMG_1408

 

Atop a high peak overlooking old and new Cuenca stands a statue of Christ, accessed by a steep pilgrim trail along which one may observe the Stations of the Cross. Those less personally committed to reaching the top can drive up a back road…but where’s the satisfaction in that?

There’s a serious food culture in Cuenca, and if you happen to be passing through, try Bien Porteno for its great food and staff.