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Gorgeous Cuenca


Today my intention was to visit the Museo del Monasterio de las Conceptas, a small museum contained within a working convent of cloistered nuns, and also the Museo de Arte Moderno, which is in a building that used to be an mental institution and is very highly regarded. Unfortunately I was let down by my guidebook which had told me both were open on Sundays, because neither were in reality. Never mind - I will definitely be coming back to Cuenca so I'll visit them then instead.


Instead, I spent the day wandering around again, starting off with another visit to the 'new' cathedral for a look round. A service was in progress so I felt a bit self-conscious walking up and down the sides.


When I came back outside I took some photos of the covered walkway in front of the cathedral and buildings next door, because there were some stalls selling candles and icons and other religious things.


I also saw some stalls with a pile of what looked like brightly coloured ice cream on a slab of marble, so I tried an ice cream cone of that. I thought it must either be ice cream (which was why they were in the shade) or fluffy marshmallow mixture, so although I'm not desperately keen on fluffy marshmallow, I thought I'd take a risk. Of course it did turn out to be marshmallow, and was so incredibly sickly sweet that I only just managed to finish it, despite being starving hungry. My fault for not asking before buying, though!

I simply had to have some actual ice cream after that, to take the taste of marshmallow away as well as to cool myself down, so I got one from an ice cream shop. Then I walked through a handicrafts and clothes market in the square next to the church of San Francisco, and the flower market next door.


I didn't buy any handicrafts or clothes, reasoning that I will buy stuff like that the next time I come here, but I did buy two massive, sweet and juicy chunks of pineapple on sticks for $1 each.


I had a quick look around the religious museum that is inside the now-deconsecrated 'Old' cathedral, but there wasn't that much there. There were some interesting black and white photographs of Cuenca and other parts of Ecuador in the 19th and early 20th centuries, though.


I went on an open-topped bus tour of the city in the afternoon - the first tourist bus tour I have ever been on. The commentary was very fast which wasn't ideal, but it was nice to get a higher viewpoint of the city. A lot of the buildings date from the revolutionary period and have distinctive balconies in the French Baroque style.


The tour also included a stop 4km away at a great lookout point over the city:


After taking photos at this lookout point I wandered around a corner or two and discovered a shrine/grotto hidden away, set into the side of the hill:


On the journey back to the city centre we drove through a street in the new part of town which had several shops with whole pigs rotating on spits outside them.

It had just started to spit with rain on the way back to the city centre, and as I walked back to my hostel the rain suddenly became torrential.


After a lie down for a couple of hours, however, I went back out for dinner and although the sun had gone down the sky was pretty clear. I went to a pizza place for dinner, not having had any pizza at all since I arrived in Ecuador in May. I ordered some yucca fries as well. When the pizza arrived it was so large I couldn't finish it, so they put the last slice into a doggy bag for me. I decided to take it back to Guayaquil with me the next day and use the language school's microwave to heat it up for lunch (I don't have a microwave in my flat).

Posted by 3Traveller 11:17 Archived in Ecuador Tagged market museum hostel andes ecuador cuenca explorations unesco_world_heritage_site ecuadorian_cuisine extreme_weather colonial_church

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