Ecuador – Day Ten: The Art of Macanas & Cuenca

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It’s day 10 and a bitter-sweet place in this 14-day adventure. There’s still so much to see and learn, but I miss home. With the WiFi so spotty, I haven’t been able to communicate with my family the way I’d like which is frustrating. Sydney underwent oral surgery yesterday to remove her wisdom teeth and is recovering without her mom. This makes me sad. On a positive note, Ecuador is a beautiful place full of history and culture that is still very much alive throughout the country. And today we will arrive in the city of Cuenca which I have been anticipating.

On our way to Cuenca, we stopped at an artisan’s shop specializing in a traditional style of weaving called Macanas. Like many other indigenous weavers, they dye their wool with various flowers, fruits, insects, and nuts from nature, however their designs are much more unique and the typical dress of the indigenous women in this culture.

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Once we arrived in Cuenca and checked into the beautiful San Juan Hotel, we went on a brief walking tour of the city.

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A city of 600,000 founded in 1547, Cuenca is known for the beautiful tile and marble they produce and export to the rest of the country. The city’s architecture is heavily influenced by the Spanish and French and boasts 57 catholic churches. A devout catholic could attend a different church every Sunday for a year, and still not set foot in every church in the city. Cuenca also has the largest church in the entire country of Ecuador, holding 7000 people.

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Unfortunately, on our way to the Museo del Sombrero (Hat Museum) we got caught in a down pour. We waited half of it out taking cover next to this gorgeous flower market, and the other half ducked inside a restaurant with the best guacamole and homemade pita chips in all of Ecuador. Things could have been worse.

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By the time we made it to the Museo del Sombrero, it was about to close and we only had a few minutes look around, foregoing our tour.

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Cuenca is a lively city and I’m disappointed in not seeing more of it. With the rain and only being here one night, I feel like there’s so much I didn’t see. It reminded me of Spain and this is the city I’d return to if Ecuador calls me back.

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