In April one of our favorite people in the world, our good friend Anna, came to visit us in Cuenca. We had so much fun hanging out and showing off our town!
We walked around and toured our favorite spots.
Here’s another scenic view of the Tomebamba River, which separates the area where we live from the historical downtown.
Here’s a picturesque patio of a restored colonial convent with the cathedral next door.
We hung out and exercised at the nearby Parque de la Madre.
And of COURSE we went to the markets.
Anna sampled some local fruits.
And we enjoyed a treat at Tosta, our favorite bakery located on Solano south of the roundabout with Remigio Crespo.
We took a double-decker bus tour of Cuenca. We like the overview of town and history of Cuenca shared on the tour bus.
Plaza de San Sebastian
We took Anna to one our favorite places…. San Sebastian Plaza. In the olden days, this was the site of bull fights, but now it is a quiet picturesque square with a delicious Belgian brewpub and some tasty cafes.
Cuenca has been inhabited for thousands of years. The first evidence of humans in the area dates back to 8060 BC, but archeologists believe Cuenca was settled in 500 AD by the Cañari culture, who called it Guapondeleg (translated meaning is “land as big as heaven.”) The Inca came to the area and defeated the Cañari in 1470s, and the Inca emperor Tupac Yupanqui ordered the construction of a great city named Pumapungo (“Door of the Puma”). Today, you can visit the ruins and gardens of Pumapungo.
Once all kinds of animals lived on the royal palace grounds, but now there is a pond, an aviary, and llamas.
I love making art with my super-creative friend, Anna. So, when she was in town I found a class making mandalas.
Anna and I had a special friend date to a spa at the local hot springs.
Our skin was refreshed and so smooth after the mud baths, but my favorite was the soak in the hot springs and underground hot and cold contrasting pools.
What a relaxing day!
Anna’s visit was ending just as Holy Week was beginning. We stumbled upon the reenactment of Jesus’s way to the cross. The girls didn’t understand why we weren’t stopping to help this man when people hit him and he fell to ground.
We culminated our visit together with our own special last supper… CUY!
Eating Cuy (guinea pig)
Guinea pig has been eaten in the highlands of the Andes for centuries. Many locals still love to eat cuy, so we got an excellent recommendation for a traditional cuy restaurant.
We called ahead to reserve our cuy. It was fresh off the spit.
We rounded our our meal with some traditional side dishes… potatoes, mote pillo (hominy with eggs), and local Pilsner beer.
We look forward to more visitors. You are free to opt out of the cuy, though :).