Cuenca, Ecuador is a smaller and gentler version of Quito. Until you add New Year’s Eve!
Another 16th century colonial city with a plaza at the centre of it’s Centro Histórico. But never two the same.
Parque Calderón is particularly green and leafy with lots of benches.
On one side the Catedral Inmaculada Concepción takes up almost a whole block.
The Catedral took almost 100 years to complete, and was inaugurated in 1975.
I have to bring my hotel (as marked) in now as it was so much of the experience here.
With little soundproofing, I felt I was living on the street! So different from my sterile room in Quito.
Carmen de la Asunción was just behind the Catedral.
The Flower Market was there too. I would walk through just to smell the flowers!
Then down the block to Iglesia and Plaza San Francisco.
If you are thinking ‘another church? my tourist map lists 18 churches within a 15 minute walk from Parque Calderon!
For a change I went to a few museums.
Museo Pumapungo had excellent dioramas describing Ecuador’s different cultural groups.
It is beside the Pumapungo Inca archeological site.
I loved the pin on this outfit.
Cuenca is part of famous sombrero manufacturing area. Toquilla is a fine but strong straw that is used to make hats.
‘Panama’ hats are really Ecuadorian hats.
I went to the Museo del Sombrero De Paja Toquilla for demonstrations and shopping! They manufacture everything on site.
San Sebastián and área
There were little rooms (monk’s quarters) around the courtyard which held installations.
Mobile donut kiosks
Not every place has been restored.
Inside a chocolatería (Ecuador has amazing chocolate)
I hope they aren’t as natural as the image😳
Looking down to a very nice river that separated the north and south parts of the city.
And all the stairs!
Again, lots of police presence.
And if that wasn’t enough, I could always call on Batman!
This is combination of photos from two markets I went too.
Cooked food on the top, more breakfast stuff and produce in the middle, and meat/chicken etc on the lower floor.
I had some tortillas de morocho made with corn that were more like a pancake. But delicious!
Another day I went for ‘Hornado’. There was a special section within about ten vendors.
No mistaking what it was!
For $4 it came with potato patties and salad, with crackling on top. Sauce at the table. It was was very tender and tasty!
I saw many people buying the meat in bulk.
‘Típico’ lunch special plate for $5 at the cafe in my hotel. Grilled chicken breast (choice of pork, beef, portobello) with Mote Pillo (7 o’clock), Llapingacho (9 o’clock) and arroz criollo (11 o’clock).
Mote Pillo is a rehydrated corn kernel that is the size of your thumb nail. It’s sautéed with onion, garlic and eggs added to scramble.
Llapingacho is a potato patty. Arroz criollo is like a Spanish rice.
Most restaurants were closed New Years Day but I found a Columbian rotisserie chicken place that was good.
For a change I had a shrimp Burrito.
This was a combo from a vendor in the park. Mote corn with pork, boiled egg, tomato salsa and plantain chips. And some hot sauce!
There was a big business in costumes, wigs and masks for New Years Eve.
Then there tons of decorated cars, trucks, and horses around the park. And families eating. Someone said they had already done their parade, so I eventually left. But I did see them leave from my balcony.
And then there were all the ‘manigotes’ (effigies) going up. It’s a big tradition to burn them on New Year’s Eve to get rid of anything bad from the previous year.
So it’s January 1, 2023.
My first wish is for some sleep tonight! Music was still playing at 7:30 this morning.
Tomorrow morning I have a bus to Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Wishing you all a wonderful year!