Sorry for the late posting, I've been out of range and very wet and cold for a few days!
As I mentioned, Cuenca is pretty impressive aesthetically. However the narrow cobbled streets of the old town and constant stream of traffic cause quite a build up of exhaust fumes which is not pleasant, particularily when one of the great big public buses trundles by belching a cloud of black smoke into your face (they don't have thousands of minivans as in Peru). It is a small price to pay though. In the middle of the two main streets; Simon Bolivar and Marsical Sucre, there is a huge plaza covered in towering trees and benches and fountains, and in front is the remarkable three-domed Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
We wandered around for a place to get breakfast and a few blocks across from the central hub, we found "Chipotle", a small bar with a fantastic American sounding menu, they even had hash browns! Hash browns!!
Towards the back I found a stall with a barbers chair and a woman painting her nails. I bit the bullet, pointed at my hair and she nodded. For $2 she tidied me up, though I couldn't get across that I wanted the beard gone and when she was waving the straight razor around my face like a sword I didn't really want to interject.
That afternoon I got a map from the helpful hostel lady and she explained where a lot of stuff was. Our hostel was between the two main streets of the old town and not too far away from the centre. Later on we wandered down Calle Larga; the main street for bars and discotecas, and went to eat at a place called "Wunderbar". $6 and three courses later we couldn't help but stay for a little longer to enjoy the cheap beers of happy hour before retiring.
|RING THE BELL OMINOUSLY|
That evening we headed back to Chipotle to take advantage of their happy hour. A few gin and tonics in and we met a couple of delightful American girls; Renee and her friend Hayley. They were here as part of a year for their degree programmes. Degrees are a lot different in the states it would seem! We chatted for ages, and they explained that Thursday through to Saturday nights were the best to go out in Cuenca. I didn't realise the time until the barman came over and handed us the bill before stacking up chairs around us. We left feeling a lot merrier than we perhaps should have been and agreed to join them for their friends 21st the following week...