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Cuenca and Segóbriga

Finally, finally, FINALLY, I’m writing more. Hopefully I won’t have forgotten too much in the meantime, considering it’s taken me a metric year to finally write this. In this blog post I’m going to write about the one-day trip we all took to Cuenca and Segóbriga, in the next post about my trip with Thea to Amsterdam, and then finally I hope to round everything out with a third with just random stuff. If all goes well, it’s going to be a monster day.

On the 25th of March (yeah, I’m really bad at being punctual about writing), the DiM crew went to Cuenca. The glorious Cuenca is a small town in Castilla-La Mancha, the autonomous community to the south and east of Madrid. Yes, Castilla-La Mancha is where Cervantes’s character Don Quixote de la Mancha hails from. In all seriousness, this is one of the most well-known pieces of information about the autonomy. And not just among ignorant Americans, but the world over.

The bus ride there was about two hours long, and most of us slept since we left at 9 AM. I wasn’t able to sleep (I can never sleep in vehicles) so I stole Mónica’s crossword puzzles and started doing those. She brought with her a set of crossword puzzles from the New York Times in book format, and we’ve all been working at it since we got to Spain. I think we’re on number 80 or so out of 100 now.


Panorama from the rackety bride that I jumped around on (to the chagrin of my friends) - Click to Enlarge

Upon arrival, the first impression you get is that Cuenca looks very similar to Toledo. It is old, rocky, hilly, and in the same antique architectural style that I love about old Spain. It also is a very vertical city, in both an architectural, building-stacking sense and a “crap that’s a big hill” sense. As such, we had to climb flights and flights of stone steps to reach the top of the city where our activities were scheduled to take place. We started at the Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, which had a number of really cool pieces of art. I wanted to take more pictures of the art (which was permissible there if I recall correctly, so long as flash was off), but my camera was acting up. As it turned out, I only captured a photo of one painting, but rest assurred that there was a ton of nifty pieces within the museum.

While still in Cuenca, we all had a rather nice lunch on Duke’s tab. Good wine, good food, and a fun afternoon. Not much else to say.

Eating lunch - Click to Enlarge

General impressions of Cuenca: positive. It’s a very calm and gentle place with a stunning view. It’s the type of city you stereotypically think of when you think of Spain–that is to say, unlike Madrid, which has a very universally-metropolitan atmosphere, this city felt Spanish. However, I don’t think it’s worth bending over backwards to see. Toledo, with its similar architecture and tranquility (as well as its leveler terrain and closer proximity to Madrid) would be my recommendation for this type of experience.

Upon leaving Cuenca, we stopped at the Roman excavation site of Segóbriga, a place I found to be beyond interesting. An ancient city in ruins, Segóbriga is full of history. Originally occupied by Celtiberians, the Romans captured the city in around 200 BC. During this time, the Roman Empire was rapidly expanding. The city continued to grow, eventually building a theater and an ampitheater (which was used for gladiator fights). Pictures of this place are in the slideshow.

Interestingly enough, there’s now a very small Christian church on top of the hill that the city is buried beneath. I find it oddly appropriate that you can see the Christian influence in Spain in yet another place–mosques in the South were converted into Christian places of worship, and this Roman city was no exception. It’s extremely fitting, as eventually Christianity triumphed throughout the continent.

Oh, and I managed to leave without saying “When in Rome” a single time.

That’s all for this post, I’m going to start working on the next one immediately. Thanks for reading!

Also: here’s the link for the other panorama (since they don’t show up well in the slideshow)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: Culture
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