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Amazing Alarcón

Quirky Cuenca

Thursday 9th June, 2022
Room 103, The Tower, Parador de Alarcón, Province of Cuenca

Many would think we are bonkers to enjoy drives through vast hectares of cereal fields etc. But then, much to the amusement of friends in the USA, we thoroughly enjoyed our drives through Kansas and Nebraska!


It's been just like driving through one of those paintings of bucolic scenes of rolling hills with patchwork fields of different colours. With combine harvesters doing their work everywhere, some fields are amber with swaying barley, others, already cropped, are yellow with stubble. And then there is the bright orange soil of fields that have already been ploughed following harvesting, many now sprinkled with green as the next crop of sunflowers begins to peek through the soil. Yes, after much research via Google, we believe that two main crops are grown in Cuenca, those being barley (and its very important straw!) followed by sunflowers. Also important are mushrooms, grown in vast sheds, and azafrán (crocuses for saffron), which we did not notice. The landscape must be quite different when the sunflowers are in full flower and turning with the sun.

Our drive from Albacete to Alarcón was mainly along the old N3, now relabelled as NIII following its replacement as the main Valencia-Madrid route by the A3 motorway. Driving here has been a delight with mainly empty roads; though mysteriously, one stretch of the NIII had a lot of lorries on it. We could not work out why they were not using the motorway, then we passed through one dusty town where many lorries had stopped for their 10 o'clock 'desayuno'. Apart from that, it's like driving in England in the 50s, with empty roads, and lovely rustic scenes. Our drives have been so enjoyable.

We stopped in a non-descript village where they were rebuilding the church - the idea was to have a quiet cold drink. This is what we got....

Click for video. Click back arrow to come back here!

The old men enjoying their peace and quiet:-


We couldn't work out quite what the forthcoming attraction is. A jamonero is a holder when you are carving your jamón.


We arrived at Alarcón, an ancient village now with a population of 189 people, and its Parador, which was once the castle of the Marquis de Villena, compulsorily purchased in 1964 and converted into a Parador. Our room is in the tower, with a window peeking over the battlements. Each room occupies one floor of the tower. If you look closely at some of the photos of the tower, you may spot Arthur in the lower window (probably tying up his shoe laces, as per usual!). (On closer examination, you won't, our window was below the battlements).


Yes, this is the Parador:-


Our very impressive room, in the tower.


We took a walk round town and there was hardly a soul about, apart from a cat and a guy who has set himself up as parking attendant in the free public car park by the entrance to the Parador. He has decked himself out in a uniform, but he is harmless and welcomes the odd 50 centimos that parkers (is there such a word?) give to him. We'd read that people in Trip Advisor reviews found him threatening and demanding but we did not find that, and the lady at check in confirmed he was harmless. We may try and sneak a picture of him as we leave for Chinchón tomorrow,


Today we took a drive to check out the city of Cuenca. We decided the easiest option would be to drive to the Parador, park there and have a coffee, while checking out the place and the famous old town, on the the other side of the ravine from the large and impressive Parador. A footbridge gives access to the old town, but it's very hilly and we were content to view it all from a distance. We decided we would not come back and stay there as, for one thing, parking, even in late morning, was a nightmare! Not our cup of tea, but very pleased we had decided to visit the place.


Into the somewhat ugly outskirts of Cuenca. We noticed, however, how busy the whole city was, with everyone going about their business.


We drove both ways on different "CM" (Castilla-La Mancha) roads, making a loop of really pleasurable motoring. Gosh, how we love living and exploring here in Spain! Tomorrow, off to Madrid Province and the Parador of Chinchón.


One footnote. On our drive back this afternoon, we went through a "town" with no houses, just old industrial units on a 'poligono', on both sides of the road. Some were closed down, but many were still operating. They all had quite new metal "towers" (can't think of the right word! Silos?...) rather like the ones seen containing feed at piggeries etc. We could not work out what they might be used for. Wood chippings?? As it turned out that every single unit was occupied by manufacturers of doors and windows, or "carpinterías". There must have been at least 20 units involved. How odd.

And here's the "broom" we've been talking about. Does anyone know what it is?


PS We have now safely arrived at the Parador right in the centre of the ancient town of Chinchón. Very interesting! More soon....


Posted by Johnash 14:52 Archived in Spain Tagged spain cuenca alarcon parador aclarón

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What lovely countryside! I especially enjoyed the pictures of the Alarcon parador. Walt and I stayed in the tower as well. Cuenca is on my bucket list.

by Annie

Another wonderful day with some fab pics. Thank you. Gosh aren't the old Paradors a wonder to behold.

by Maggie Punyer

Wow! Love your room. Such fascinating buildings. Enjoy the rest of your trip xx

by Sue

That castle looks amazing 😊

by Simon OByrne

You're sure having a scenic wander through rural Spain! Alarcon's Parador looks a very atmospheric place to stay, while Cuenca old town - perched on its ravine edge - reminds me of Ronda. Enjoy Chinchon!...

by Ian T.

Do not know where you find the time to write this blog but so pleased you do. Photos so clear thank you

by Vivienne Sawyer

Fascinating account! Your room in the tower was magnificent! Seemed kind of eerie, though, that there was no one visible in the town.

by Linda E Ketterer

Great looking room. Am enjoying your trip.

by PK

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