I spent my day off in Loja mostly resting as the past two days were taxing. However, I did manage to get out to the Central Square in a city known for its culture and music. As everywhere that I’ve been, the city landscape is dominated by its magnificent churches. They are even more impressive to Americans and Australians then to the Europeans on the trip as there are even larger and older examples there. Nonetheless, the buildings amaze me with their beauty. I will try to attach a photo of my Aussie friend Terry in front of one of the churches front doors which are massive. We wandered the squares and were surprised at all the young to middle aged men hanging about with seemingly nothing to do. I don’t know much about employment in this country but the cities seem relatively well off with very basic simple life in the countryside and villages. We walked into an indoor market here and were simply stunned by the amount of vendors with meats and fruits and vegetables. The market takes up a whole city block. Vegetables and fruits are stacked up high in the tiered stalls, surrounding each vendor with a remarkable variety of lush produce. Add a little steam and humidity and this interior block would be an Ecuadorean jungle. The red meat area was a little less pleasant to the nostrils but yet clean and fly free. Since my phone was at the hotel charging I can’t offer a photo. I was also interested in the Musee Musica (Museum of Music) but failed to get there.
Tomorrow we are cycling another big climb but have some lighter days after that.