Arantza Toledo is the most famous canoeist in Cuenca. We met her in her second home: the River Júcar, where she was waiting for us, fully equipped by her training canoe.
Author: Elena Gascón
Good morning, Arantza. It is our pleasure to meet you. Could you please introduce yourself?
Hello! I am Arantza Toledo, I am a professional canoeist in the local canoeing club “Cuenca con carácter” and I work as a nurse too. I am also studying Medicine at Castilla-La Mancha University.
Does Cuenca promote Sustainable Tourism?
In Cuenca, we promote sustainable tourism because of our natural surroundings. The city lies in a unique location between two gorges. You can spend your free time paddling down the river Júcar, walking, hiking, jogging, cycling, climbing… There are endless options to do environmentally friendly outdoor sports in this city.
Do you think Cuenca is a sustainable city?
Cuenca is a sustainable city in many ways. You can go sightseeing or make leisure plans, there are many places to discover here. As we are in a natural environment, we all try our best to preserve it. For me, Cuenca is fantastic as it is!
Has anyone helped you to develop your activity/career here? (NGOs, Youth Workers, crowdfunding campaigns, the local government…)
Many institutions and associations have helped me to develop my professional career: the Spanish Association to Fight Against Cancer, the local Town Hall, and regional grants…to name a few. As canoeing is not fairly well-represented in mass media, sports grants are less substantial for it than for other disciplines. Nevertheless, I have received grants and financing from both public and private institutions.
What would you recommend to other young people before moving to Cuenca?
The first thing, I would suggest is getting fit or taking up hiking before moving here (joking). There are many slopes in Cuenca. Anyway, I would recommend everyone to come and visit Cuenca because it is very different from Madrid or other big cities. It is a small and welcoming town. Well, you may as well like living in the countryside. Cuenca is a quaint old town where you can feel at ease and enjoy nature.
What is life in Cuenca like?
Personally, I love Cuenca since you are in contact with nature on a daily basis. It is a delightful city! It is not overcrowded at all, unlike Madrid. In Cuenca, you can truly find peace and serenity. Being able to practise sports outdoors, in nature, makes this city priceless!
Let me tell you a funny anecdote. I once decided to take the bus to go to university. Although you can go walking everywhere in Cuenca, that day I decided to take the bus. I was absent-minded and took the wrong line! Suddenly, I saw that it was not going to the university but to the old part of the town! I got off, and I thought: “It is only 5 minutes until the lesson starts. I will not make it even if I ran«. So I took another bus to go home – or so I thought! After getting on the bus, I realised I had taken the same bus! With the ordeal, the rush, the mess I had made, I never managed to press the stop button. Therefore, up the hill, I went. Eventually, I reached the highest part of the city, far from home! How did I recover from that sequence of unfortunate facts? I just went home walking, saying: “Goodness me, I have spent all morning outside university, what am I going to do now? Then, I decided to walk home slowly but surely. I did some sightseeing. Cuenca is always worth visiting. All in all, I had seen beautiful sights. In Cuenca, we learn from a very young age to take the best out of each experience.