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A night away October 2009

A night away - Parador de Cuenca

Driving up through Spain towards holidays in France, we decided to stay in Cuenca, east of Madrid. We stayed for two nights, and really enjoyed the hotel, town, and scenery in the area.

According to the scholars, Cuenca as we know it today was born under the Saracens some time around the 8th century. The Parador de Cuenca is a restored 16th century convent, which sits in a really special location on the Hoz del Huécar gorge, which has steep walls and luxuriant vegetation, just outside Cuenca, facing the hanging houses.

As we arrived the week of the local feria, the hotel was booked out. We checked in at reception, where we received a friendly welcome. Our lovely room was large and peaceful, with wonderful views across the gorge.

Décor was muted and gentle – wide screen television and fridge hidden in a custom made wooden dresser. So the room looked as if it was still in the 16th century, although the comforts were definitely 21st century.

The central courtyard of the hotel was a sun trap and a perfect place to receive our welcome glass of wine.

Afterwards, we left the hotel and took the famous pedestrian bridge to the “old town”. We found a lovely little restaurant at the side of the church to dine and were entertained by two local “characters” who sang and played guitar.

The next morning we were impressed again at how easy it was to set up a laptop and connect to the internet (wifi). We took a long walk round the town and came back to have lunch in the old chapel, a very comfortable room with wonderful paintings on the ceiling. The quiet murmurings of various couples faded upwards, into the thick stone walls.

Temperatures were around 28 degrees with clear blue skies so a swim in the outdoor pool was a must. Again it was not crowded and was a peaceful area to read a book.

There was a great selection of restaurants in the town, but having been so well looked after the previous night, we stopped off beside the cathedral and enjoyed the local food and wines once again, listening to the local singers.

Cuenca, and its surrounding countyside is certainly worth visiting if you are driving through the centre of Spain.

www.parador.es

ANNE FLEMING

Hotel Parador de Cuenca