"its just so dramatic with the old hanging houses drawing you towards the entrance"
When our friends Paul and Jon came to visit we wanted to show them the “real” Spain. So off we went on a day trip to Cuenca. The drive from Xeraco was around 2 hours and 45 minutes, the roads were clear, barely a car in sight and the views were beautiful.
We parked up(Jason used his inner Austin Powers skills) and realised we were right at the Puente de San Pablo(Saint Paul Bridge) which leads you to the famous Hanging Houses and the view of the gorge. This for me is the most stunning way to enter the town. Its just so dramatic with the old hanging houses drawing you towards the entrance, and as you can see from the photos it's hard to take a bad picture of this bridge. The four of us were already excited at the sight of this stunning place and historical place. Paul was happy about seeing the “real” Spain.
We walked up the cobbled streets which led us straight into the Plazor Mayor, where we were greeted by colourful buildings and the majesty of an epic cathedral. As we walked in we saw a few kids in Star Wars costumes and carrying Star Wars toys, we thought nothing of this. The cathedral was grand inside, it was like a tardis, room after room filled with impressive religious articles. At the back of the cathedral you can gain some more spectacular views of the gorge.
When we stepped outside of the cathedral there were thousands of people, we were all a little dumbfounded. As Marvin would say "whats going on?". We initially thought that this must be what it’s like on a Saturday. However the more we looked the more we realised that everyone there seemed to be affiliated with Star Wars; masks, costumes, light sabres everywhere and fully grown men dressed as Chewbacca(Dave you would have loved this). We managed to find a seat at a cafe and grab a beer, front row seats for all the madness. Then in the distance the Star Wars theme tune started to play out(it turned out to be a full brass band), the excitement in the crowd grew. Then the parade began, the 51st Legion marched through the square. All the main characters were there, best of all Mr Vader himself!. We could not believe how random this was to be happening in such a place. We all like Star Wars so we were pretty pleased to have stumbled upon this.
The lads appetite was wet for more beer and hungry for food, so we headed to this cool tapas place I’d read about called La Bodeguilla de Basilio. If you are in Cuenca I really suggest you seek this place out. It's like most tapas bars, small, intimate and bursting with atmosphere. Each time you order a drink you get free tapas with your meal and I’m not just talking about stale bread and cheese. This was qual eggs, jamon, sweet potato croquettes, calamari, garlic soup, potatoes and egg, it was insanely delicious. Half way through we tried to order some food but the barman in Spanish told us that we would be wasting our money and that it’s cheaper to order drinks and get the food free, what a nice man! In total the cost was around €29 which I do not think is bad at all considering we had nine drinks and all of that food. The lager is slightly more expensive than what you would pay in a normal bar but only slightly and as with the rest of Spain wine is ridiculously cheap! The vino tinto seemed to be their own brand and tasted great.
We had nowhere to head for a little siesta so we went back up the hill to the Plaza Mayor to see what else we could find. We continued up the hill past the cathedral taking in the beautiful sights until we eventually reached the top. Here there are also plenty of places to eat and drink and lots of fantastic photo opportunties. We managed to find a bar that served something other than Estrella or Amstel which made Jason a happy bunny.
At round 6pm we decided to head back down the hill to the Plaza to try grab something to eat before the long drive home. But of course this is Spain and most places don’t start serving dinner until 8pm. We thought we’d be able to get a sandwich or some more tapas but we had no such luck! So off we went. Just before leaving we all needed a toilet stop. We ended up in this really cool bar called Grotte Del Huecar, which is set inside a cave, one more vino tinto for the road!
We finally arrived back in Xeraco at around 10pm and ate dinner like true Spanish people!
Cuenca is definitely on our list of recommended places to visit in Spain. If you can stay over, so you can relax and enjoy a few cervezas. Jason and I will definitely be heading back to Cuenca at some point to test out the rock climbing which looked amazing by the way.