The Hanging Houses and the Enchanted City

September 19, 2017 - Toledo, Spain

Up bright and early to have breakfast as we had a long day planned. So we fell in with the doors at breakfast. Well not quite, there was already one other couple seated when we arrived but it was very quiet down there.

It was only a quick stop back at our room afterward to grab up our daypack and then we went through the rigmarole of extracting the car from the car park. This time we drove out of town behind the bus. I bet the company hopes any future coach builders can keep to the same dimensions as it only just fits through the arch of the city gates. I can't complain about squeezing the Opel Insignia into the car park after watching the bus negotiate the gates.

Today we managed to follow the orders of Senorita Amiss and took the faster route to the Lavanderia and managed to find a parking spot without blocking the road or a driveway. When we went inside there were several women at various tables sorting and folding laundry. One waved to us and dashed out presumably to find the boss. While we waited I pointed out a neat little package on the shelves nearby. It was definitely our laundry all folded and sealed in a plastic bag and looking considerably smaller than the bundles we left yesterday.

Soon the woman we dealt with yesterday arrived and picked up the package from the shelf. Maybe all the workers recognised the Aussies and their little package. And the Lavanderia cost was €7.20, about 10% of the possible cost through the hotel. We left some extra change out of our pocket to maybe subsidise their coffee supplies or something but that may have also been lost in translation. The whole transaction beginning yesterday has been fun and seems to have left both parties laughing and shaking their heads at communication by gestures and Spanglish.

We then programmed Senorita Amiss to take us to the hanging houses at Cuenca. I didn't want to face the complexities of toll booths in Spanish so we asked her to avoid toll roads and away we went. The drive all went pretty smoothly. Just one minor missed exit at a roundabout that took us onto another divided road and a five kilometre round trip to get back. We must be more careful in counting the exits at roundabouts.

In the town of Cuenca we had to negotiate some narrow streets and traffic but nowhere near as narrow as the parking garage so … easy peasy. Little Miss Amiss led us to a spot just past a car park entrance so we had to drive a little way along the river valley to be able to turn around and park.

The houses on the cliffs towered above us and we began the long slow slog up the 'residents only' road to the village. Several stops for photos allowed us to catch our breath and then we took a walk across a bridge over the gorge for a different viewpoint before coming back to continue up into the village. That also made us catch our breath, but for a different reason. Every other village we have visited is clean and tidy and washes the square daily, if not the streets. Here the place stank of urine, dog or human, I did not want to know. We took a few photos but I was happy to get out again. I am not sure I agree with the description, quaint, although the few hanging houses are quite a sight.

We then attempted to program Senorita Amiss to take us to Cuidad Encantada, as it is shown on the road signs but she wanted none of that. We soon found out that she was happy with 'Enchanted City' this time, none of that Spanish rubbish. Following her directions we poked our way through the streets of the town. I think we went through a pedestrian precinct (slowly) and then followed the river out of town.

It was a lovely quiet drive up into the mountains to the parking area at Cuidad Encantada and we duly paid our entrance fee and bought an ice cream to sustain us on a 3.5km walk. The place has some fascinating rock formations of high remnant blocks of dolomite with paths winding between. Like many such places there are tales of outlaws or renegades hiding among the baffling array of paths.

After our little walk we headed back to Toledo once more. It had been a very long day and I had to pull over for a break at one point. We stopped in the shade of a viaduct for the High Speed Train and had a walk around. As we got out of the car a train whooshed by with very little noise and disappeared almost before we could catch sight of it.

The rest of the drive went without incident but my eyes were pretty tired by the time we arrived back in Toledo and I was glad to wriggle into the garage and park the car. It was almost time for Meson La Orza to open so we put on some warmer clothes and headed across for dinner.

Ham and Cheese Croutons for an appetiser on the house,

Smoked Sardine with apple and onion rings for a shared entrée,

Stewed Bull's Tail for Margaret,

Beef tender loin for Max (again),

Thyme Sorbet on the house,

Apple Tatin with Blood Orange Ice cream for Margaret,

Baked Milk Custard for Max, and

Coffees to finish. Then a cream liqueur digestive on the house to round of the meal.

We needed an early start to return the car and catch the train tomorrow morning but it was almost 11pm before we got home.


The Lavanderia Entrance
Inside the Lavanderia
The hanging houses of Cuenca
The bridge across the Gorge
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