For the past three years, Two Who Trek (TWT) have visited countries in Europe and Asia. We are now back in South America and enjoying our first visit to Cartagena and Colombia! An opportunity for a three week adventure to learn about another culture and to take more Spanish lessons was irresistible. An added bonus is the sunny 86°F weather here while it is 28°F, cloudy and snowy at home!
Two Who Trek take an overall look at the city
As we prepare to wrap up our posts about Cuenca, we realized that we haven’t shown much about the day-to-day life in the city. Today we will look at some common city scenes.
Cuenca is actually the short name. Its true name is Santa Ana de los Cuatro Rios de Cuenca, named for the four rivers that run through the city. The word Cuenca means “river basin” in Spanish. Continue reading
We’ve talked about the wonderful fruit and vegetable markets in Cuenca. However, many of the items are different from what we would find in the United States. Today Two Who Trek looks at some of the unusual fruits we discovered in the markets.
First, TWT has a general observation about the quality of the produce available at market. Most of the fruits are grown in Ecuador and the crops are picked closer to full ripeness than those shipped overseas. At the time we were in Ecuador, only black cherries were being imported and those came from nearby Chile. Flavors overall were more intense than the imported produce we might get at the super market back home. Continue reading
Two Who Trek learn about hat tricks
Call it a hat or a sombrero but it is not a Panama Hat! Traditionally made from a high grade of straw called paja de toquilla, these hats are called Montecristi after the Ecuadorian town of the same name. The misnomer referring to Panama dates back to the 1800s when the Spanish began exporting the hats from Ecuador via Panama. In the 19th century, Panama Canal workers used these hats to protect themselves from the strong equatorial sun.
There are many excellent tallers or artisanal workshops creating sombreros del paja toquillas in Ecuador. Two Who Trek visited two hat-related places in the Cuenca area. Continue reading
Two Who Trek has briefly mentioned the Flower Market in the heart of Cuenca before. But this place is so special, we decided to give more detail and photos of the flower market.
The traditional Flower Market is on Calle Sucre, across from the new Cathedral. The market is in a small open-air plaza in front of the Church of El Carmen, a colonial era church. This square is adorned with the façade of the church and the church is made of carved stone. Continue reading