Cuenca

Visiting a city without any real tourist destinations is always an enlightening experience. The real draw here is to find a rhythm of the area and try to surmise what life is like there. Cuenca was the perfect exploration day trip. All in all there were maybe 3 things to do there and we had 11 hours to them all. To be honest, it is hard to say what we did because looking back and taking stock of the day, it does not seem like we filled those hours. The first thing we did was cross off a bucket list item and had churros and chocolate for breakfast. Since the old city is set on a very tall hill, we took our time climbing it. Along the way we saw many interesting buildings, several cats, and very few people. It surprises me how Saturdays can be so devoid of life in Spain. Sure there are people milling about, but it is clearly more of a day for relaxation than for running errands the way it is in the USA. The real attraction is the long line of houses built right on sheer cliffs. The effect is quite stunning. You can tell that the locals are proud of them because although there are very few tourists, there are tourist shops full of t-shirts, ceramic pots, and keychains with depictions of these houses. I have come to realize that if you want to know what the locals find important in a small community or if you are looking for something to do or see, look in the souvenir shops.

Truly the houses were gorgeous from the cliff lookout that we found ourselves on. We spent a while looking at the city and pondering on matters of history and how things end up the way they do. Around this time the siesta began and we were left to wander through the cobble-stoned empty streets in a maze of closed shops and shutters. We did find a group of students selling their art in an attempt to raise sufficient funds to travel to Barcelona’s comic con. I love the idea of someone raising money using great talents to follow their dreams. I admire their dedication and ingenuity and love that fandoms and comic con are a cultural thing that is shared throughout the world.

After visiting the science museum and watching the planetarium show, we headed to the other attraction in Cuenca: the Abstract Museum. To be perfectly painfully honest, I get very little out of this kind of art. But me and Katelyn had a grand time interpreting what the artist was trying to say. (There was a Levell Edward’s Stadium and like 5 brutal cow murders). At one point we pretended to critically analyze a window and got riotous laughter from several groups of other museum goers. The whole encounter really made me think about what art is and how it is received. I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Is there true beauty or is it always subjective? How does this perception change with age or culture? All I know is that I am grateful for the human ability to create and choose these things for ourselves.

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