Day 7 – Cuenca, Spain

May 8, 2013

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Today we headed out to a little town called Cuenca (a couple of hours east of Madrid). The main attraction of this town is the Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses). Turns out, there’s two things we were mistaken about: the “town” is more like the epitome of the perfect Spanish city and the Hanging Houses…not so awesome. Cuenca is a fabulous city if you’re looking to walk through older Spanish villages, see newer aspects of a city, be in nature,  see mountains, go hiking and just be in peace.

We got dropped off in the newer area of the city and had to make our way to the older part of town to get to where we wanted to be. We stopped at a small restaurant in Sol and after a bit of convincing from M, I was cool with ordering baby squid (along with seafood paella). Now, the paella had full-blown, whole shrimp in it – I’m talking antennas, legs, eyes, head – all of it. I tried guys – I really did; but when I found a loose antennae or leg – I just couldn’t. On to the squid. I’ve never eaten this in my life and after a lot of coaxing from Menx I tried it. Not that bad. Yes, the texture is a bit rubbery but with garlic, pesto, basil and olive oil – it’s pretty darn good. Will I ever order it in the states? Probably not. But I’m in Spain – anything goes here.

The adventure didn’t stop there, M and I spent the entire day hiking, walking and climbing from one end of the city to the other, from the top to the bottom. We stopped to take breaks and pictures on the hill/mountain side, roaming through the streets and finally making our way to the hanging houses and the bridge across from it. Now, I’m not sure if anyone lives in the houses considering if you walk out onto the balcony and look down, you’re pretty much hanging off the edge of a cliff. If someone does live there, they obviously have no fear of heights or roller coasters.

This really was such a fantastic city – I got to see so much of Spain in one place, in addition to doing some outdoor activities which I love to do. I was actually really sad to leave it. Something about hiking and being on top of a mountain side looking down to a city below, is such a great feeling. As lame as it sounds, you really do feel like you’re on “top of the world.” M really wasn’t a fan of my “adventurous” behavior as I kept walking down unfamiliar paths, climbing random ledges or rocks and running off. For the most part she was wrong in thinking something might happen; except for that small little blip when I accidentally miss-stepped on top of small hill, fell flat on my butt and slid down just a teeny bit away. Eh, if you don’t do it once, what’s the point of hiking?

Now back in the city we had every intention of indulging in suckling pig at the oldest restaurant in the world (Botín), but opted to visit the San Miguel Mercado that we had went to on the first night, since we really didn’t get to eat there. After scarfing down more paella and tapas, I think both of us were pretty beat and headed home.

Plus, tomorrow we have to get up super early to catch a plane to Barcelona. I feel like I’ve been constantly on the go here, but it’s been so invigorating! I can’t believe that this trip is not over yet (watch in a few days I’ll be saying “I can’t believe this trip is over” and use a sad emoticon…now you know I’m sad when I use one of those).

I already miss Madrid and I’m still laying here. Barcelona here we come!

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