I wrote this post earlier in the day but seemed to have lost it with the off and on internet here. We arrived in Cuenca after a relatively easy day peddling yesterday. The central part of the city is dominated by two large impressive cathedrals, the old and the new one. The new one is very old as well – the original one had a major architectural flaw in that the base wasn’t sufficient for the planned expansion and it was deemed too small for the increasing population of the city. The impressive buildings in this central area reflect the money, effort, and dreams of the Spanish settlers in this area. As I mention in the title of this chapter, the city is an UNESCO World Heritage site because of the preservation of this beautiful early architecture. Six of us, Barry, Terry, and Michele the Aussies, Bridget from the Netherlands and Vivian from England plus myself took a double decker bus tour around the city this morning. It was really enjoyable however I think that the driver must have just discovered white crosses (for those of you not familiar with the 60’s and 70’s, it is speed) as he rolled through the tour at a speed that prevented many photos. Also the streets are narrow and the buildings tall and too close to capture on my camera. I did manage to walk to the Old Cathedral and found it to be magnificent. I’ll try to post some photos here if possible. I put a few on Facebook. The marble and stone columns of the interior and the wonderful stain glass lighting were phenomenal. It brings to my mind that we no longer build buildings quite like these as they require such huge resources and also artisans that may no longer to be found. The cathedrals take up more than a complete city block each. I didn’t get up to the new cathedral as it is a REST day and one I really need.
I’m looking forward to the futbol match tonight. I’ve never attended a live soccer match before and look forward to watching and listening to the crowd almost as much as the game. They are passionate sports fans here in Latin America.
Today we searched for a laundromat to get our smelly clothes freshened up. The hotel was overwhelmed by the amount of laundry they were doing just to keep up on their regular laundry with a group our size. My two Aussie buddies, Terry and Barry, and I, found a hostel that was willing to do our clothes. With 3 to a room at the hotel it would have been a little foggy in the room if we all hung wet clothes washed in the basin. Mission accomplished.
There are fruit, vegetable and flower vendors everywhere in the city, crowding the narrow sidewalks. Also many very small shops which are repeated sometimes two to three times on the length of a block. Bakeries, very small shops with snacks, water and pop, internet shops, hat shops and ladies wear. I’m not sure how they all make a living. Much of these products are also sold on the streets and in the markets.
I will try to post a photo or two if possible.