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Mother's Day in Spain 2012


By balcony


Mother’s Day in Spain 2012

I’m back from our short break in Spain. My wife & I went to Spain, to Cuenca, her home town in the centre of Spain, on Friday 4th May & returned to “Old Blighty” on Wednesday 9th May. We went to visit my wife’s family & our two boys who still live over there. But primarily to be with her mum on Mother’s Day which is always the 1st Sunday in May.

The cheapest flight we could find was with Ryanair to Valencia. We have never been by that route before, we’ve always gone via Madrid. We left from Stansted & the flight was uneventful & we arrived on time in Valencia.

Orange trees in street in Torrente, Valencia

We visited an aunt of my wife’s in a town a few minutes taxi ride from Valencia airport. Neither of us have ever visited her town before. My wife is named after her & she has always been my wife’s favourite aunt. She met us at the airport & took us to her flat in a taxi. Along her street, which is very long as far as I could make out, there are dozens of ORANGE TREES! I was amazed! Many years ago when I visited Valencia on the odd occasion I’d seen orange tree by the 1,000s but never had I seen them growing in the middle of a city before!!!

While we were in the taxi I saw a roundabout with dozens of rose bushes all in full flower! Never before have I seen so many roses in flower in the street! I was flabbergasted! Unfortunately I was unable to get any photos of them.

I wasn’t able to see much in the respect of vegetation except for the Orange trees & Palm trees, 1,000s of them it seemed!

Train to Cuenca

Later in the evening we visited another aunt & her family. We hadn’t seen them since the wedding of our youngest son in Cuenca 5 years ago. One of her sons took us to the train station in Valencia as we wanted to catch the last train of the day to Cuenca. When we bought our tickets we were told the train would be late due to an accident somewhere up the line but that we were to take the train standing in the station & make a change at a certain station where we would be picked up by the train going to Cuenca. We were told it was the 2nd station. We got on the train & it started off. We had no idea how long it would take to get to the station & I started to drift off along the way. (Well, we had had no sleep the previous night having spent it in Stansted airport!) All of a sudden my wife shook me awake saying we had arrived at the 2nd station where we had been told we were to change trains. I was still a little groggy but we managed to get off the train before it took us along with it.

On the platform we were alone which seemed strange because we knew that at least 1 other passenger was going to Cuenca as well because she asked us before we got on the train if it was the one to Cuenca. We didn’t see her & thought she had accidentally stayed on the train! We couldn’t see the name of the station & there didn’t seem to be any indication of the train to Cuenca. We crossed under the line & went into the station to ask about the train we were supposed to take but there was nobody there. We returned to the platform where we had got off the train & I asked a youth sitting there if this was the platform to Cuenca & he said it was. I explained to him about the change of trains & the name of the station but he said this station wasn’t the one we should have got off at! As there were no more trains to anywhere at that time we decided to try & speak to someone at the station & this time we found a station manager in his office. We explained what had happened & he got on the phone & explained our situation to someone who apparently authorized him to stamp our tickets as valid to travel to Cuenca the next day.

Bottlebrush trees in Adaia, Valencia

We then found a hostel to spend the night. We had something to eat in a bar where the barkeeper was very friendly indeed. from the window of our bedroom we were able to see some Bottlebrush trees. I’d never seen these trees before;I’d seen bushes in the UK but never trees. So I took a few photos of them:

I had hoped to take a close up photo as we left the hostel but my wife was in a bit of a hurry to have breakfast & get to the train station by 7.45 a.m. as we had been told the night before so we would have time to speak to the station manager before our train arrived at 8.20 a.m. but I was unable to take one.

The rest of our trip was uneventful & we arrived in Cuenca at 11.35 a.m., bang on time.

Standard Rose Trees at Cuenca Railway Station

When we got off the train I saw some standard rose trees in the station in full flower so I had to go over to them & get a couple of photos!

These were the only roses I saw during our stay in Cuenca. I did see some bushes in bud but no others with open flowers.

Horse Chestnut trees

I was interested to see the difference in the timing of the flowering, as well as general growth, of plants in Cuenca. I was surprised to note that it was almost the same as where we live in the UK! The Horse Chestnut trees where just starting to flower, (there are 1,000s in Cuenca!), in the streets, I didn’t get to visit any of the parks in Cuenca.

One of the things that I most notice every time we go back to Cuenca is the lack of vegetation &, especially, gardens. As most housing is in big blocks of flats there are very few private gardens like we are used to in the UK so people garden on their balconies, the same as I did for most of the years we lived in Cuenca. There are however some very big public parks in the city which would not look amiss in the UK!

The Castle & El Castillo barrio

At the highest point of the city there sits the ruins of an ancient castle that Napoleon’s troops blew up once upon a time. Beyond the castle there is a sort of tiny village, (El Castillo barrio), which would have been outside the city walls centuries ago. I had a gander around it & tried to find the the very first house my wife & I ever lived in when we were first married. I found a house which I think was where we lived but it had been done up & modernized & I hardly recognized it after 38 years!

There was a house with many plants flowering in old tins & other “recycled” containers …

Here is a closer photo of some of the plants. I was astonished to see Petunias & Geraniums in full flower as well as other plants. There was also at least one rose bush with a buds about to open as well.

El Castillo – The Castle

Villa Adoracion

This was the 2nd place we lived at after getting married. The lady the Villa belonged to lived in it only during the summer & then went to her flat in Valencia to spend the winter there.

Apart from the main house it also had two small apartments for guests to stay & sometimes her daughters would spend the summer months there with her as well. She was a friend of ours since before we got married & she let us use one of the apartments free of charge while I looked after the gardens of the Villa. We lived there only a few months before I got a job in Madrid & we moved there for the next couple of years.

In another blog I’ll put in some more photos I took of Cuenca. Now I must get back to my allotment!

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What a wonderful holiday. Wouldn't it be lovely to see so many trees in our cities - but they wouldn't have oranges on!
I really enjoyed my trip - thank you!

14 May, 2012


what an enjoyable trip you took us on it was great really brightened up a cold day wet day ....Thanks :))

14 May, 2012


Thank you Balcony.

14 May, 2012


lovely pics, hope you had a really good holiday - and avoided most of the rain!

we could do with more trees in the streets here, but I can imagine how long they'd last, sigh, with the average moron-in-the-street.

how did your balcony fare while you were away? do you have someone to water for you?

15 May, 2012


Like you, Balcony, I was amazed to see orange trees in the streets when we visited Andalucia earlier this year. It's a lovely sight! You obviously had a great time. Looking forward to the next set of pics. :o)

15 May, 2012


What an interesting blog Balcony, I loved those oranges in the street and that judas tree, the colourful containers were a great idea!
I agree with everyone else, London has trees along the streets but more would be better and I would love to see them in more towns.

15 May, 2012


need a tree to cope with the level of pollution, Sticki, and the species on London streets have proved that they could, more or less. Of course, with cleaner air - not much, but a bit - new speices might be tried. but then the reduction in airborne pollution might be equalled by the rise in traffic pollution!

15 May, 2012


almost as if we cant win fran but wouldnt it be lovely to have several trees or a column of them going down the middle of the street or along the pavements.

now that would have been a really good way to celebrate the millenium or the jubilee ~ more trees on every street.

15 May, 2012


you're so right! and they'd help to improve the air quality. I'm being pessimistic, but I've seen what happens to trees round here - branches ripped off, notices nailed to them ....

15 May, 2012


so very frustratingly annoying!

15 May, 2012


Thanks for your comments & I'm glad you enjoyed this short trip around Spain with me.

15 May, 2012

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