Friday, Dec 7, 2018
I made a trip to Cuenca this week. It was the first time I have been there since leaving March of 2017. I discovered that I have fond memories of this charming, old Andean city. It actually surprised me. Not because there aren’t many things to love and enjoy about Cuenca…art, history, architecture, cuisine, natural beauty, but I was so over living there with the cold and wet weather. I couldn’t see beyond it.
For the couple of days I visited, the skies were sunny and blue. I don’t think a drop of rain hit my head. It was rather cold in the mornings and evenings, but during the day, in the sun, it was hot. I soaked it up like an iguana on a rooftop.
I stayed in a very comfortable studio apartment at the east end of El Centro, and only a 5 minute walk to Parque del Madre near where my friends Scott and Colleen live. It was just like old times when we met up. That is the interesting thing about good friends, we just pick up like we were never apart.
Since I have lived in Cuenca the number of coffee shops has increased. I admit I was in espresso heaven. Of course finding really great food in Cuenca is easy too. What is more difficult is deciding at which great place to eat. But somehow between me and my friends we managed to solve that problem at every meal. 🙂
I enjoyed the contrast of activity between El Centro in Cuenca and the town square in Olon. Everything is bigger, louder, and faster in El Centro. I came across a parade at Parque Calderon. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was, but then it hit me. It was a Scout jamboree. All the troops were marching and singing or chanting something. A giant hand making the scout salute led the procession carried along in the bed of a pick up truck.
The scouts weren’t the only entertainment. As there often is on the south wall of the cathedral, an artist was playing music and selling wares for his dinner.
At night the Tomebamba river was aglow with the lights of Christmas time.
Florida or Cuenca
I was also able to see my friends Pam and Eddy while in Cuenca. I had thought they were in Florida but Scott and Colleen set me straight. They were back! When I called them, I was invited to breakfast before I headed out of town. It was so nice catching up with these two terrific people.
Before I arrived, I had walked over to their place from El Centro. They live along the Yanuncay river where me and my family first landed when we came to Cuenca. Although we moved apartments while in Cuenca, we continued to live along that river.
Walking along the Yanuncay in the sunshine that day, I was reminded of the exercise runs next to this beautiful river my sons and I would do together. It made me smile greatly.
Christmas Comes to Olon
While I was in Cuenca the Christmas tree went up in Olon. Before I left I caught a glimpse of two local women stringing the lights along the tree’s outer surface.
When I returned it was up in the square complete with a nativity below. Maybe not as grand as the many Christmas lights in Cuenca, but every bit as much appreciated.
For those of you living in the first world…only 17 shopping days until Christmas. For those living here, drink espresso at your favorite Andean cafe, or drink cerveza at your favorite beach bar. Ecuador doesn’t have everything, but in some ways it has it all.