Cuenca, The Beautiful

Yes, folks. We are on yet another long-haul bus, this time heading to Quito. I’m attempting to write this post while also trying not to get nauseous. We’ll see how well this tactic works on these windy mountain roads. This morning, we left the oh so quaint city of Cuenca, perhaps a bit prematurely. But such is the life of nomads who are trying to maximize the time they have left on the road. For the record, if I had to pick a city in which to live out of all the cities we’ve been to during this trip, Cuenca would most definitely be a top contender. It’s large enough to qualify as a city with the all the items on the “cool city checklist” agreeably checked off, but it’s small enough so that you rarely feel beaten down by noise, pollution, or marauding hordes of people on a daily, sometimes minute-to-minute basis.

So, which of Cuenca’s praises might I sing for all you perspective visitors out there? For one thing, this mountain-flanked city’s downtown area is manageable on foot without the use of public transportation. In fact, you’d be silly to take a taxi or bus when strolling up and down the cobblestone streets (yes! cobblestone! whee!) can be so thoroughly enjoyable on a nice day. There are plenty of interesting shops to pop into: antique shops akin to those you might find in Vermont; bookstores (including the one that ripped me off by charging me $4 for a book even after I traded in three Kazuo Ishiguro novels and one collection of Alice Munro’s short stories. Stink on them!); delicious-smelling bakeries, pastry shops and gourmet ice cream parlors; and fancy shoe stores (people in Ecuador have great taste in shoes). If shopping’s not your thing, there are tons of art galleries and museums large and small (including the illustrious Panama hat-making museum, but more about that in the next post) to explore. And the churches? As you’ll see in the slideshow below, they’re exquisite.

Cuenca is a beautiful city architecturally, no doubt about it. Sure, there’s sprawl which can get a little seedy in spots. But for the most part, Cuenca’s buildings and streets are quite pleasing to the eye. Intricately designed houses painted in bright complimentary colors. Bountiful (and cared for) flowers in window boxes overlooking the street. Hardly any trash to be seen anywhere (at least downtown). Periodic recycling bins. Strategically placed lampposts and lighting fixtures that serve to brighten up trees and areas of interest at night.

Although we only had a day and a half here, we definitely made the most of it, eating delicious food and sightseeing to our hearts’ content. And now, a few photos for you. Keep in mind that it was a bit cloudy, so some of the pics don’t do this gem of a city justice.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


About andesnotthemint

Alexis, Mark, 2 seasons, 1 continent, a very long mountain range.
This entry was posted in Cuenca, Ecuador, Lex, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cuenca, The Beautiful

  1. ariburling says:

    Who built all of this, the Spanish?

    I seriously hope you bought a hat for yourself – you looked awesome in that photo!

  2. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the great shots of the buildings of Cuenca. There’s almost a sense of romanticism about them when taken as a whole. The night shots especially add a flavor of the mystique that is present in older buildings that are seen lit at night. Muchas gracias!

    The Dad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s