Two years. In February 2022 it was two years since we’d left the US, and we were ready to go somewhere for a spring trip. We weren’t keen on having to test to get into a country, but as luck would have it, we found an excellent deal to Spain which did not require testing if you are vaccinated. But where to go? We’ve been to several regions in Spain, so it was familiar, but never around the Valencia region. We decided that would be a good re-introduction to international travel.
While researching the trip I discovered that the high speed train from Madrid to Valencia often makes a stop in Cuenca, a town overlooking two river gorges. So altogether we decided on 5 nights in Valencia, 1 night in Cuenca, and our final night in Madrid.
Our luck didn’t hold out completely – we were significantly delayed arriving into Madrid, and immigration took 1.5 hours, causing us to miss our intended train. Thankfully, we were able to get tickets on a later train in first class. (Note that our train ticket included the Cercanias train from Terminal 4 to Atocha, and that there are two departure levels in Atocha!) Altogether we arrived in Valencia a bit frazzled, quite tired of masks, but only two hours later than intended.
Where we stayed
Lucia met us outside the apartment and gave us the keys for check-in. Located on the 4th floor (no elevator) meant a bit of exercise to get to the apartment, but not that bad. The apartment had an open, comfortable feel to it.
We were pleasantly surprised that kitchen had everything we could have wanted – knives, juicer, wine opener, and a washing machine. Outlets near the bed for phone charging was convenient. The tiny balcony was also a welcome feature.
We picked this hotel based on reviews and location. Being two blocks from the Central Market was very convenient, but also meant that it was a bit noisy on the weekend (earplugs helped). Every time we opened the windows flies would get in too. But overall we quite liked our 5 nights in this apartment.
Alojamiento Turístico Alfonso (Cuenca)
This apartment is located on the winding road leading up to the gate and central plaza of the old town. Unlike many, this one has a significant step down to get in– small enough that Leandra had to watch her head!
Unusually, you actually go down into the apartment, which feels like it is in a basement. However, the city is built up along a gorge so the views were absolutely spectacular. The wooden ceilings and other painted details made the apartment feel extra unique.
The room had everything we needed – the kitchenette was well-equipped, including a refrigerator, and the living area had a couch and dining table. The bathroom had an interesting tile pattern, plus excellent water pressure.
The one issue we had was activating the hallway’s automatic lights; we had to be careful leaving the apartment as there is an immediate step down and the lights didn’t click on right away! Overall, our room was very quiet at night, and the temperature stayed quite moderate compared to the large change outdoors. It was also a good location for exploring the hillside sights.
AC Hotel Carlton Madrid
We thought it would be convenient to stay near the train station for our one night in Madrid, and the AC Hotel had both good reviews and was available on points. Check-in was available when we arrived at 2p, after which we got our US-mandated covid tests out of the way via video from the hotel room. We passed!
The room was good size, quite comfortable, and surprisingly quiet. Plus we had a nice view of the sunrise when we left for the airport the following morning.