Cuenca, yes please! I really am more of a small town kinda lady, but Cuenca is a city I can relate to. It feels smaller even though it is one of the largest cities in Ecuador. We were fortunate to stay right in the center of town within walking distance of the new cathedral. They had to build a new cathedral because the old one was too small for the growing city. It is really pretty with light blue domes which look amazing when the blue sky is in the back ground.
The old cathedral is now a museum and I found it interesting. It had many statues of religious fingers plus some historic photos of indigenous people and settlers. I was pretty happy to find a museum open on a Saturday.
Brad and I only had a couple of days in Cuenca so we did our best to se as much as we could. One thing to keep in mind is when visiting a community be aware that many time there are holidays or religious services and museums and even the grocery stores might be closed. Frequently on Sundays many businesses are closed.
Fortunately we don’t always need entertainment to enjoy a community. In this case though we walked along the river Tomebamba to the museum of Pumapungo. This museum specializes in enthography and I found the exhibits interesting.
Especially the exhibit of the Shuar people. Since Brad and I had spent a short time with a group of Shuar when visiting the Amazon I found the added background to be helpful in understanding the position of the people. The Shuar are actively trying to maintain their culture and resist outside influence but of course it isn’t easy for them. I hope they can do well. In the past the Shuar would ritualistically shrink the heads of their enemies, but the government has said they can not practice this anymore so now they only shrink the heads of sloths. I am not sure how this is working for the Shuar, or the sloths. The people I met seemed delightful although of course language was a barrier.
I know it isn’t right to support child labor in the case of the Shuar having a little girl paint our faces with traditional face painting techniques, I just felt we had to be polite. They have a culture much different from mine and they also face pressures that I can’t possibly know, so we just let our visit flow.
At Pumapungo there is also an Inca city plus a display of native birds in cages which seemed pretty sad to me because birds really don’t belong in cages, but they were pretty.
Cuenca has familiar food you can expect in South America-great soups, chicken, pork… we ended up having spaghetti because sometimes you just gotta have pasta and then the next day we had pizza! I hope not to repeat this culinary experience for a few months.
Our AirBnB had really great views of the skyline plus the church “Santa Domingo”. So overall it was a great experience.