Cuenca, and all that jazz

Our last stop in Ecuador is Cuenca, our first stop in Cuenca is a “free” walking tour

We learnt some stuff about Cuenca including, I assume, what that pole means, but I’m writing this about a month later so don’t have a clue…

Oh!!! Ecuador invented Panama hats!!!

Basically the hats are pretty banging, so back in the day Ecuador were exporting them all over Latin America. In the early 1900s USA president, Theodore Roosevelt, visited Panama and was spotted wearing the above hat. When asked where he got it he replied “Panama” and thus the Ecuadorian made hats were known as Panama hats.

There was also a little shop disguised as a museum

I’m a fan of Cuenca! I’m not sure why but a number of older North American immigrants have settled and retired here so there are a few western comforts…

Sushi burrito anyone?

The “Sushi burrito” label was dumb, they entice you in by pretending they’ve invented a dish compiled of your two favourite foods, then you find out it’s just a big California roll that’s actually a bit bland ?

Luckily Cuenca’s not completely overrun with folk from the U S of A. It’s pretty too! We stayed between the center of town and this cool river, just next to a nice park which was in heavy use by families, joggers and fitness classes.

The town has some well maintained architecture

So we visited the cathedral for top views.

The cathedral is cool because it’s supposed to look like the photo on the right

but when they lowered the towers on the existing structure it couldn’t take the weight and cracked down the middle. So in true South American style they called it a day, left it as it was, and got on with their lives.

I got my hair cut…

Em got her hair cut

and we treated ourselves to cake!

Really, really good cake! Emma was especially impressed after the owner of the restaurant asked if she was my girlfriend and then told me she was “muy bonita”… My Spanish isn’t good enough to know what that means but I’m assume he was saying “oh, you’ve had a haircut” or something… He must not have noticed mine!

We were hoping that with the number of English speaking people living here the hairdressers would know a little English. They didn’t, but were as professional and kind as we could have asked for. Thanks guys!

Looking fresh to death…

we put our fine selves on display at the Jazz club, turning heads along the way!

Em noticed that the jazz band consisted of Dave Grohl on bass, Lenny Kravits on guitar, and the bad guy from Men in Black 2 playing drums. The band leader / piano player was an old (old) American guy with the best “jazz jokes” I’ve ever heard.

“Next we have an lovely guest singer from here in Cuenca, I don’t like her personally…”

We ate pizza, drank wine, and soaked ourslelves in jaaaazz!

On our last day in Cuenca we visited Museo Pumapumgo. The museum was decent, had some good old stuff and good wax works but we weren’t allowed to take photos. Outside were some cool Inca ruins we could wonder around.

And they had llamas! “ll” in Spanish is pronounced “ya”, and in some parts of Latin America “ja”, so locals refer to them as yamas or jamas… Which is much better in my opinion!

We didn’t stop to check who this guy was…

Which I feel a bit bad about now.

They also had some big birds in little cages which we weren’t too impressed by.

With all of the Cuenca must visit sights ticked off the list (including the McDonald’s… We couldn’t find an ice-cream shop still open!!!) there was just time for a light snack, neither of us were particularly hungry

before we boarded the 9pm, overnight bus for Peru!

We got a little sleep before being rudely awakened for the border crossing

Only 1.6 million international tourists visited Ecuador in 2017, which is kinda mental. People are really missing out!

Bye bye Ecuador, you’ve been amazing!!!

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