A New Kind of Blog

There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A walk into town

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. 

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