Tag Archives: Chinchon

Travels in Spain – Cuenca, Hanging Houses and Hairy Bikers

We drove directly to the very top of the old city and parked the car at a scenic point where there was a stunning vista stretching out below us.  The city was built here because the rocky outcrop of land lies between two deep river gorges, the Júcar and the Huécar and it made an excellent location for a defendable fortress.  We walked down from the car park towards the main Plaza where there were gaily coloured houses, shops and pavement cafés and bars and the city’s Cathedral that was completed in the thirteenth century but partly fell down in 1902 and over a hundred years later the rebuilding of the façade still remains to be fully completed.

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Travels in Spain – Castilla-la Mancha

Cuenca sky

The temperature was dropping by a few degrees each day and the next morning was very chilly indeed when we returned once more to the Plaza Mayor for breakfast at the same little restaurant/bar. The food was simple but satisfying and after filling ourselves up with toast and a sort of tomato puree and/or marmalade topping we set off across the great plain of La Mancha in an easterly direction towards the city of Cuenca.

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Travels in Spain – Bourbon Madrid

Madrid Metropolitan Building

The Palacio Real was as far west as we planned to walk so now we turned around and started back towards the Plaza de la Puerto Del Sol but took an alternative route past the Teatro Real and through the Plaza de Isabel II along the Calle de Arenal and back to our starting point.  It was time for a drink so we thought it might be nice to sit in the Plaza Major but when we arrived there the prices were higher than we generally like to pay so we abandoned this particular tourist trap and began our walk east towards Bourbon Madrid.

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Travels in Spain – Old Madrid

Philip IV and the Palacio Real

There was a definite autumn chill in the air when we went early to breakfast today, early because we were planning to visit the capital of Spain, Madrid.  Kim and I had previously planned to visit in March but due to a misunderstanding about train bookings on my part we didn’t make it.  This time there could be no such problem because there isn’t a train station in Chinchón so this time we were planning to go by bus.

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Travels in Spain – Toledo, City of Steel

Historic City of Toledo

After lunch we returned to the sunny streets and because of earlier confusion retraced our steps a couple of times on our way back to the cathedral.  Kim refused to take charge of the map for fear that her earlier good fortune might be exposed as a fluke and I took over again on the way to the Jewish quarter.

In the past Toledo had changed hands many times and it was renowned for its diversity and religious toleration and we found the synagogues with admission prices that put us off entering and then after walking through a warren of mazy streets came out on the other side overlooking the modern town to the north.

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Travels in Spain – Disagreements abouts maps and directions

Toledo Blue Sky

Although it barely scrapes into the top one hundred biggest cities (it is actually eighty-sixth) Toledo has always been one of the most important cities in Spain and for many years it contested the status of capital with nearby Madrid and was in fact the principal city until 1560.  But Madrid gradually came to prominence under the Hapsburg Monarchy and Phillip II took everyone by surprise and moved his court there and made it his capital in 1561.  Toledo compensated for this by reinventing itself as the principal religious city in the country and today remains the seat of the Primate of all Spain.

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Travels in Spain – Chinchón, Preparation for a Bullfight

Chinchón Bull Ring

The Plaza was only a hundred metres or so from the hotel and when we arrived there we were surprised to find it being prepared for a bullfight.  Now, I would like to see a bullfight but this trip wouldn’t have been the best time because Christine is an animal lover and almost certainly wouldn’t have approved.  From the signs in the shop windows we established that the event would be on Sunday afternoon and we would be gone by then so we were relieved that Christine wouldn’t be here to get distressed about it.

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Travels in Spain – Motorways and Navigation

 Chinchón roofs

Spain is currently the World’s second most popular tourist destination after France, with the population of forty-five million being increased every year by as many as sixty million foreign visitors, 80% of whom make straight to the excellent beaches along the coasts.

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Chinchón and a Grand Plaza Mayor

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Spain is currently the world’s second largest tourist destination after France, with the population of forty-five million being swollen every year by as many as sixty million foreign visitors, 80% of whom make straight to the excellent but overcrowded beaches along the coasts.

But I am keeping away from the tourist hot spots and in the continuing search for real Spain have now visited Galicia and Cantabria in the north and old Moorish Andalusia in the south and this time, still staying well away from the crowds and the busy Costas had plans to visit inland Spain, to Castile and the provincial towns and cities around the capital of Madrid.

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