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Hanging Houses at Cuenca
Spain, Portugal and Basque France Adventure 2014

Hanging houses and crazy plazas

Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha, Spain and Canary Islands
Sunday, June 29, 2014

Today, we took a day trip to one of Spain’s most surreal-looking towns, Cuenca. This 15th century town is high up on a hill with some medieval houses perched on a rock with the balconies dangling right over the abyss.. This unique architectural attraction is called Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses).

After a bit of searching, we found the road leading to the town and I dropped Maryln, Herb and Judy off at the top of the hill while I went to find parking. There was none on the narrow streets below and the parking garage’s height was too low. A bus driver told me to go over the sidewalk and park with the tour buses (the main gate was locked). He said he would look after the car while he waited for his tour group to come back. No problem!

It was quite a climb uphill to where Maryln was waiting. We crossed the abyss on the narrow footbridge with me not looking left or right and wearing my map and cap like blinkers since I have fear of heights! My daughters will be proud of me that I made it over.

There are two approaches to Cuenca: one can actually drive all the way up into the old city and walk down to the hanging houses, or do it the way we did, from below, giving one a better view.

One of the houses has been transformed into a Museum of Spanish Abstract Art, but we decided to give it a miss. Judy and Herb went off exploring on their own while Maryln and I sauntered around admiring the old town and cathedral and then settled down to a light lunch. We sampled the juicy local trout and watched the families come out of church and form huge animated groups around sidewalk tables for a long meal together.

Back in Madrid, Maryln and I walked through the Plaza Museo on to the Oriental Plaza near the Palace. We ordered the Menu del Carte (Plate of the Day). In Spain this usually includes an entrée (appetizer in the US) main dish, dessert and a glass of wine at a very reasonable price. We were entertained by all the sights on the square: kissing and smooching couples (unusually common in Madrid), oriental massages on the sidewalk, jugglers and bicycle stunts amongst others. The ‘live’ statues have taken on new forms: people in impossible positions holding gear, all sorts of camouflage clothing – something of a continuous open air circus atmosphere on all the squares. Unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of beggars as well.

We are so impressed with the overall cleanliness of the cities, the beautiful condition of the roads, orderly farmlands and good-natured people.

Royal Palace from the street
Statue of Goya
Sign on the old wall
Maryln on Oriental Plaza
Hanging Houses at Cuenca
Cuenca
Bridge across the abyss
Narrow balcony
Hanging Houses at Cuenca
Cuenca
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