I first visited Cuenca in 2008 as a junior in college doing my study-abroad in Valencia. It was at that point in the program when everyone’s simply sick to death of each other, and hackles are raised by even the slightest provocation. Absolutely no one had any desire to be shipped away in a bus together, much less to this dinky middle-of-nowhere destination.
Although it was well into spring by the time of our visit, we were hit with a combination of sleet and hail upon arrival. None had thought to bring boots/umbrella, and the soggy time spent prowling the extreme slopes of Cuenca’s hills just served to exacerbate initial crankiness. Supposedly there were hanging houses somewhere in the murk, but hell if we cared enough at that point to suss them out.
After an obligatory group tour through the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español (which we all grudgingly admitted was pretty damn sweet. Check out Antonio Saura’s rendition of Brigitte Bardot), we scattered as far apart from each other as possible, each holing up in a different rincón of the city for stress beers. The designated hotel was located far from the center, however, and the mandate from on high was to be back in the bus by 10PM at the latest. Anyone who’s gone out at night in Spain knows this is early to the point of absurdity, and as such resulted in great trudging of feet.
Sopping, grumpy, and half-intoxicated across the board, we winced our way one by one onto the bus like bedraggled cats, and waited for a complete head count.
The last one to show was Chris, our coordinator for the semester. She was ripped, and immediately invited everyone to further drinks in the hotel bar. Well hey.
The mood did a 180, and the Backstreet Boys made an a capella appearance. Loud and thoroughly guiri, we burst all at once into the couldn’t-be-chintzier bar. Rum and cokes sprung into eager little fists, and we had ourselves a catharsis. Animosity blurred along with vision. Chris enthused about pool boy butts. And I’ve loved Cuenca ever since.
Returning this late December bore no comparison, and was completely lovely in its own right. I tried ajoarriero (the wiki makes it looks appealing. ours was a cold ceramic cazuela of white gloop) and zarajo (… don’t). I hit up another abstract art smorgasbord, Museo Fundación Antonio Pérez. And I managed to spy the hanging houses with my own eyes, unobstructed by cloud or malice.
w/r/t the title:
¿Alguna vez has puesto a alguien mirando hacia Cuenca? Sea cual sea tu respuesta, es muy probable que necesites esta aplicación.