It is difficult to get a feel for a city when you are far away and have not yet visited. We remember wondering how Cuenca was laid out, what the distances were from place to place, and what it would feel like walking around town. So, let's take a walk from our apartment into Centro and the Parque Calderon to get an ice cream sundae for Jonny.
The first photo is from our apartment front window looking toward the churches on Parque Calderon in the distance, about a ten minute walk up the avenida to the river, across the bridge and up the steps into town.
After leaving our apartment building, we walk up our residential avenida toward town.
Passing many stone or brick walls with inpenatrable flowering hedges on top
At the end of our street, there is a center garden filled with numerous cactus and succulents
Then a right turn, past Santa Ines Hospital on the right and
The University of Cuenca on the left
Another block and we will reach the river
Just before we get to the river and on the right is the entrance to the La Esquina Plaza which must be investigated by Loretta
Inside the art plaza are a couple of dozen very upscale botique shops reminicent of San Francisco or Sante Fe
Then another right turn down Avenida 12 de Abril, paraleling the River Tomebamba. Notice the cobblestones
It is impossible for us to get past the river without Jonny stopping to toss a few rocks into the rapids.
About a two block walk along the river to the bridge. At the end of the street you can see the Banco Pichincha main building.
There he goes again racing for the bridge
We made it past the ice cream vendors with a promise of a Sundae at the park
A view up river from the bridge
Nobody runs up these steps but a five year old
Fifty steps up don't look like much but at this altitude a pause to catch your breath on the landing is not a bad idea.
At the top of the steps, we are in Centro. Notice the red tile sidewalk.
Then we have a two block walk up Benigno Malo along many small mom and pop stores.
Finally, Parque Calderon which is surrounded by two major cathedrals, banks, restaurants and ice cream parlors.
One of the entrances to the park
The New Cathedral which is massive inside. Usually every bench is occupied as all the parks in Cuenca are heavily used and a tremendous draw for old and young alike.
You can see why people love the park. It is lush with tropical plants and trees and almost perfectly laid out for wandering in and out on the tiled paths and to meet friends.
Another entrance to the park. Most of these photos were taken on a Monday holiday, Cuenca's birthday, and there were very few people in town which is usually crowded. But, it made the scenery easier to see. Now, we have to fulfill our promise of an ice cream sundae before walking back home.