Time Got Away From Me

Time has gotten away from me and I realized it has been two months since I posted anything.
We have been in Cuenca for 7 months now and simply love it here. We love the customs, the friendly people, the culture and the simple way of life.
It is a good feeling to walk down the street and greet and be greeted by strangers with
“buenos dias”(good morning), “buenas tardes” (good afternoon), or “buenas noches” (good evening) as just a way of life. Once you have reached a certain level of familiarity, then, when greeting people, women kiss both women and men once on the right cheek. Men will also kiss a woman on the right cheek but will shake hands with men.
Mike and I had heard about Waffles de Belgica, so, on September 5th we met two other couples at the Pumapungo Ruins. The waffles were good, more like dessert with ice cream and chocolate sauce on them. But, hey, who am I to complain? They have a museum along with the ruins, neither of which Mike or I have seen. Something else for the list!
1Cuenca9-5-15HerronDavisBillings*
3Cuenca9-5-15Waffle*
September 22nd found us on a terrace under the beautiful blue domes of the New Cathedral. It was the setting for “The Spoken Word,” an evening with wonderful Cuenca-based authors who entertained by reading from their latest or past works. Mike was privileged to be one of the authors who read that evening. He read a couple of passages from Appalachian Gold.
28Cuenca9-22-15TheSpokenWordMike*
Orlando Ortiz, owner/chef of Sunrise Café, had the most incredible dinner September 23rd. A group of us went and enjoyed a good meal along with good company. The picture below is of the shrimp appetizer.
Cuenca9-23-15SunriseCafeShrimpWatermelon*
Cuenca9-23-15SunriseCafeGroup*
September 29th started out a beautifully clear and warm day, so we decided to play tourist. We walked down to Parque Calderon in El Centro and hopped on one of the tour buses. We wandered through the streets of El Centro before heading up to Turi, an area in the hills on the south side of town, where you find breathtaking views of the city. There is also the Iglesia de Turi (Turi Church), which dates from 1835. At night, Iglesia de Turi can be seen from all over Cuenca. We can see it from our dining room and office windows.

21Cuenca9-29-15TourBusTuriSusanMike*

35&36Cuenca9-29-15FromTuri3*The blue X in the middle on the left is where we live
When we aren’t shopping in one of the mercados (markets), we shop at SuperMaxi. It is about a 15 or so minute walk from our apartment. We usually walk up and, because we are purchasing heavy items (milk, wine, pineapples, etc), we take a taxi home. When you walk into any of the SuperMaxis, if it wasn’t for the signs and package labeling being in Spanish, you would think you are in any supermarket back in the states. The SuperMaxi we go to is in a little mall, not unlike many back in “the old country.”
2Cuenca8-19-15SuperMaxiMall*
19Cuenca9-9-15SuperMaxi*Those prices are per kilogram (2.2 pounds)
25Cuenca9-9-15SuperMax.*i
One of my friends offers a “walking classroom.” He offers several different classes, and the one I attended on October 6th was on coffee. It was so interesting to learn all about coffee, the different types of beans, the different types of drying methods, etc. We did cupping and tastings.
3Cuenca10-6-15CoffeeClass*
On October 14th we flew to Georgia to pick up the rest of our belongings and share some special time with our friends there. The weather was gorgeous, and the turning leaves against the green mountains made for a beautifully changing scene each day. We were told that the peak of the colors happened about 3 days after we left, but still it was beautiful. We returned home on October 21st, arriving in Quito around 9:30 pm. We spent the night in the airport, as our flight didn’t leave until 6:30 the next morning. That will be the last time we do that! We are just getting too old to sit up all night in an airport, so we will schedule a flight that leaves later in the day and go to a nearby hotel.
As we flew from Quito to Cuenca, we got to see Cotopaxi spewing steam and ash. The Cotopaxi volcano, at 19,347 feet high, is one of the world’s highest active volcanoes. It is located about 30 miles from Ecuador’s capital of Quito.

6Cuenca10-22-15Cotopaxi*

11Cuenca10-22-15Cotopaxi*
10Cuenca10-22-15Cotopaxi*
On October 23rd the first trial run of the Tranvía de Los Cuatro Rios (Streetcar of the Four Rivers) took place. Before the 1960s, Cuenca had no railroad or paved highway leading to it and has never had a street railway. When the construction is completed and the system is operational, Tranvía de Los Cuatro Rios will be the highest street railway in the world.
In 2013 Ecuador signed a contract with Alstom of France to build an electric tramline between the city’s east and west sides, a distance of 6.4 miles. Alstom is supplying fourteen trams; each tram contains 5 cars that total 108 feet in length and are capable of carrying 300 passengers. The first tram arrived on July 1, 2015.
1Cuenca9-27-15TranviaGranColumbia*
9-27-15Tranvia*Sorry this is blurry, it is a picture I took from the internet
The doorbell rang about 7:45 pm on Halloween evening, and our neighbor was there with her grandson and daughter, faces painted for Halloween. We weren’t expecting any trick-or-treaters as we thought Halloween, as we know it, wasn’t a huge event here. We didn’t have any candy (weren’t willing to take any out of our dark chocolate bar stash) but we had some granola bars we were able to give them. Then, about an hour later, the bell rang again and three “spooky creatures” appeared! I so wasn’t prepared for trick-or-treaters! They stood behind me in the kitchen while I searched the cupboard, and all I could come up with was a package of crackers for each of them. How sad is that? I will be better prepared next year!

Cuenca10-31-15Halloween copy*

Cuenca10-31-15Halloween*

As always, until next time, Abrazos

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