The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Winter in Spain


By balcony


What do you think of when you see my comments & blogs on my years in Spain? Oh, what a lucky man, having lived in sunny Spain all those years & here’s me stuck in dark, rainy old Blighty!!!

Well take a look at these photos of my wife’s city, Cuenca (pronounced: “Quenca” or “Kwenca”) where I spent 19 years before returning to the UK 8 years ago.

These photos were taken on December 14th, 2009!

By the way, Cuenca is near the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, about half way between Madrid & Valencia.

Below is an oldish map of the peninsula where you can see the route of a high speed train that is being built between Madrid & Valencia. It will have a major new station in Cuenca. I hope to see the works while I’m there over Christmas & the New Year

Here is a photo of Cuenca Cathedral which is set in the Plaza Mayor at the greatest elevation of the city. It’s unique style is the only example in Spain!

<<Cuenca Cathedral is a Gothic cathedral in the city of Cuenca in Cuenca Province in the Castile-La Mancha region of south-eastern central Spain. Exceptional expression of Gothic Anglo-Norman, begun in 1196, its construction was finished in the second half of the 15th century.>>

Quote from Wikipedia:

This next photo is a partial view of the Archaeological Museum which has artefacts from the earliest inhabitants in Stone Age times. There is an important collection of bird fossils dating back millions of year from a place in the province – not from the city itself.

This photo shows some of the refurbished houses in Dyers’ Street. Here, centuries ago, there used to be a whole industry of dyeing. Many types of fabric were dyed here & were exported all over Spain & even abroad.

These houses have become the modern symbol of Cuenca. They were once the summer palace of Spain’s kings & queens. In more modern times they became abandoned & fell into disrepair & were on the point of being demolished in the 1950s!

<<The Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses), are one of the most emblematic buildings in the city of Cuenca. Their medieval origin and design, are visible in the wooden balconies, open stonework and stone cantilevers, over the Huécar Gorge.>>

This picture is looking down from above over the River Jucar. This river is normally green! It’s origins are in a remote part of the province of Cuenca & it runs through the whole province till it later enters the Mediterranean Sea near Valencia.

The next two photos show glimpses of the Old City. As Cuenca is built on a long spur of rock that lies between two river gorges, formed over many 100,000s years, by the Huecar & Jucar rivers, the inhabitants built their houses down the sides of the rock! A lot of the surrounding land used to be swamps till the monks drained them. Now the modern city of Cuenca is located there.

In the eighth century Cuenca was conquered by the Arabs who remained in control of the city for several 100 years. Cuenca being built on a rocky spur between two rivers was a difficult city for the Christian forces but was eventually conquered by King Alfonso Vlll in 1177.

I was living in Cuenca when they held the festivities celebrating the 900 anniversary of the “Reconquista” (Reconquest)! It was also the year our youngest son was born – in Cuenca!

The two photos that follow are of some repaired parts of the old wall that surrounded & protected the city centuries ago.

Here is another photo of the River Jucar this time looking UP towards where the previous photo was taken which looked DOWN on the river. The best time to look along the river in this direction is in the autumn when all the White Poplars turn bright yellow! An unforgettable sight!

St Paul bridge was originally built of stone over the River Huecar gorge. It liked both sides of the valley & reduced considerably the time it took to get between the different parts of the city.

<<The St. Paul bridge (Puente de San Pablo) was built from 1533 to 1589, a construction driven by the canon Juan del Pozo, over the river Huecar’s Gorge, aiming at connecting the old town with St Paul convent.>>

Again the quote is taken from Wikipedia.

The original bridge collapsed, and the current one was built in 1902, made of wood and steel according to the style dominating at the beginning of the 20th century. It is up to 60 metres high, and supported upon the remains of the old bridge.

A very popular place to have one’s photo taken with the Hanging Houses or the back of the Cathedral behind one. I have several!

The last couple of photos are of trees covered in the heavy snow that fell during the night of the 14th of December 2009! They had 20cm (8 inches) in just one night! It’s not an unusual thing but what makes it different from other years is that this amount fell in just ONE night! I’ve seen that amount or more during the 19 years I lived there but they were always the accumulation of various days.

Snow in one of Cuenca’s many parks.

We’re going to spend our first Christmas in the last 9 years there!

Happy Christmas & New Year to all GoYers! :-)

More blog posts by balcony

Previous post: Winter on a balcony

Next post: Cuenca, Spain, Christmas 2009



Wishing yourself and family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too Balcony ! Enjoy your holiday !

22 Dec, 2009


Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year to you, Balcony, and your family! Have a great trip!

22 Dec, 2009


Wonderful photos and very interesting information Balcony! Our 18" deep snow was finally washed away by rain when the temperature rose a little on Monday. We were snowed in on our mountain for several days - even the local snow plough deserted us and went on up to the upper village completely disregarding the turn for our village.

Have a wonderful Christmas in Cuenca and lets hope the New Year will be healthy and prospertous for all! :o))

23 Dec, 2009


Merry Christmas :o))
An interesting blog thank you, although I would have preffered to see the place without snow.

23 Dec, 2009


It seems there's no escape from snow pictures for you Hywel LOL, even in Spain!
Thanks for sharing them with us Balcony, I've never really thought of Spain as having heavy snow! Hope you have a very Happy Christmas there.

23 Dec, 2009


like lily2 I dont assaciate snow with spain. an intersting blog
seasons greetings to you.

23 Dec, 2009


Snow in Spain? Much as I like other countries I actually love the changing seasons we have here and would not wish to live anywhere but in GB. I hope it works out for you! Happy Christmas.

23 Dec, 2009


A lovely seasonal blog Balcony, Very informative thank you.
Here's hoping you and all your family have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and peaceful new year for 2010.

23 Dec, 2009


Hope you have a great holiday merry xmas to all of you...

23 Dec, 2009


That is a really interesting blog and photos Balcony. So informative, I shall have to come back to it to take it all in. Thank you. Happy Christmas to you.

23 Dec, 2009


merry christmas to you and your family............

23 Dec, 2009


You just dont think Spain and snow together lovely pictures though. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Balcony.

23 Dec, 2009


Happy Christmas Balcony have a good time,

23 Dec, 2009


Thank you all for your kind comments & wishes for a happy holiday & Christmas. So glad you all found my blog informative though I can't take credit for the photos I used in it. They came in a PPP (Power Point Presentation) that a friend of our daughter-in-law made the day after the heavy snowfall. She sent it to my wife who in turn sent it to me. I just saved the photos to my computer & then used them on here.

Nonetheless, while we were in Cuenca over Christmas I managed to get many of the photos that appear in this blog & am thinking of doing a similar blog but without snow - so cheer up, Hywel! :-)

We had a very rainy Christmas in Spain. It was also unseasonably warm with temps around 10ºC much of the time. We had only about 2 days of sun plus 2 half days. The rain was almost constant.

We arrived back in the UK just in time as the following day all the cold weather began once again bringing disruption to airports & railways.

10 Jan, 2010


Loved the Xmas visit Balcony.....beautiful pictures of a very interesting place. The snow looks wonderful, but I bet its difficult navigating those streets when its icy. To live in those very old properties must be very hard work. I can imagine the poplars, we used to visit a place on the Riu Ebre, Xerta, where the banks of the river were lined with them...and also in winter the white barks were stunning against the pale grey architecture and blue sky.
Really enjoyed it...:o)

19 Jan, 2010


Glad you found the blog interesting, Janey! When did you spend time in Spain? Although many of the building you see in the old city of Cuenca are 500 or more years old they have had their interiors brought a lot more up to date. I must confess to having seen nothing of their interiors but while I lived there I heard of people getting grants to modernize their flats & all have electricity & running water & have had them for very many years. Most have some form of central heating.

When Cuenca was declared a Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO the city received a lot on capital to restore many of the building that were becoming derelict as people moved down to the modern city with all its modern conveniences leaving old, poor folk behind.

Cuenca was once upon a time a very rich city but in the passage of time & politics Cuenca lost a lot of its power & riches & fell into a backwater. It's been a very hard fight to get Cuenca "on the map" again but at last it has a very modern dual carriageway road that puts many of our motorways in the UK to shame! It is also getting the High Speed train known as AVE. I saw some of the building work as we left Cuenca to return to Madrid & home but I wasn't able to see the building work on the new station being built 5 miles out of town. Perhaps next time I may even ride into town on the AVE!!!

19 Jan, 2010


We have been back in the UK 3 years now Balcony after living in Catalunya...L'Ametlla de Mar for over 6 years. We bought an old Olive farm in 1994 and spent 6 years coming and going on holidays, renovating the whole thing,then moved out there in 2000. It was basically just a shell with1 hectare of land. Miss the wildness and beautiful scenery and the sea of course...the area is very picturesque.......still was a great can see some of my pics in my gallery of photos....probably nearer the beginning...:o)

19 Jan, 2010


I'll pop along & have a look, Janey. I never got further than Valencia & Madrid. Would have loved to see other parts of Spain as I would the UK!

20 Jan, 2010

Add a comment

Featured on

Recent posts by balcony

Members who like this blog

  • uma

    Gardening with friends since
    28 Oct, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    4 Jul, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    21 Jun, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 Mar, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Aug, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    16 Feb, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    16 Aug, 2009