Published: August 2nd 2012July 31st 2012
Day 14: Cuenca Day 2:
After a pretty good night's sleep, we got up, did the necessities and set out to find coffee before exploring Cuenca. Apparently, most Cuencanos either rise late or drink their coffee at home, because we couldn't find any cafes that opened before 8am! We originally figured on having coffee at the neat little Coffeetree Cafe, but they were just getting set up and told us they opened at 8am, so after wandering around trying to find someplace else, we returned at 8:05 to have our coffee there. After capuccinos, we returned to the hostal to pack up our stuff so they could move us to the new room while we were out. Just after 10am, we headed to the plaza where the city tour busses started out, and since the blue Cotratudossa bus was there getting ready to go, we paid our $5 each and hopped on. The bus was quite new and very clean and well-appointed. We took the risk and sat up on the open top for a better view. Soon after 10:30am, the bus pulled out started what turned out to be a very interesting and informative tour of Cuenca. We passed
the historical district and a couple of outlying areas, with the guide telling us about everything in English and Spanish. As we approached the western part of town, we noticed a couple of neat looking buildings high up a hill. Lo and behold, thats where we ended up, in the Tuni (?) district. The bus climbed all the way to the top, then stopped. The guide told us we had 20 minutes to shop and look around, and if we'd follow him, we'd get a free drink. After climbing a few sets of stairs, we were led into a large shop, basically souvenirs. Each person got a small cup of a local, non-alcholic, hot drink. I don't remember the name, but it was very hot and very sweet. We didn't end up buying anything, so after a view good panoramic photos, we reboarded the bus for the trip back. All in all I'd highly recommend this tour, especially for only five dollars! After the two-hour tour, we wandered around a bit looking for someplace to eat lunch. We passed a Mexican restaurant that looked good, but walked around a bit more before returning to El Pedregal Azteca for lunch. They
offerred two specials, one for $3.50 and one for $4.95, so we ordered one of each. Manoli's less expensive meal was a chicken burrito, small salad, and a drink. Mine was two chicken enchiladas, refried beans, guacamole, a drink, and ice cream. All and all it was very tasty and pretty inexpensive.
After lunch and a short stroll, we returned to the room. I had a runny nose so I took a nap while Manoli read. In the early evening, we went out browsing and ended up eating dinner at a place nearby called El Campanario. We weren't all that hungry, so we ordered an assortment of a tamal, humita, onion rings, and cheese empanada. With a Coke it came to five dollars. Everything was pretty good and we ended up pretty full. We returned to the room to see if we could finally watch a movie on NetFlix. Lo and behold, it not only worked, but we were able to watch two movies with minor interruption. I feel asleep early into the second one and never got around to doing this blog until the next day.
Tomorrow we plan on doing the bus trip of three nearby
towns, Gualaceao, Chordeleg, and Sigsig, that was recommended in the Lonely Planet guidebook.
Sorry for the late entry.... I fell asleep.
There are more photos below