Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Walking

We've been walking alot this month...always something fun to see! 

This is an earlier progress shot of nearby construction.  This is where the llamas used to live.   Some say this building will be a hardware store, but we think it will be a car dealership, but hard to tell.

One of the old buildings at the Square is finally under restoration.  We can't wait to see it all done and beautified. 

Fun Street art.

Fun name for a shop!

Colorful, fun art at the bus stops along Av Solano.



We don't know the stories associated with this sidewalk art, but we're sure there are some.

We miss our walking partners,
Chuck and Nancy!

Cute little boy, cute hat.  This pic was taken on Palm Sunday, note the herb bouquet.

More adorable children, so sweet!

Yes, there is a MacDonald's here.  We're not into the burgers as we once were though. 

The best part of the place is "meeting Ron''!

Thanks to Cesar, we now know the name of this tree.  He calls it ''Fresno".  We also know that this same tree produces both the beautiful yellow flowers AND the curious seed pods. 
Thanks, Cesar!

More bus stop art...when pigs fly?

Cuenca's flags flew everywhere during 12 de Abril celebrations.

More beautiful flowers.

Stay tuned for more later.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Lots of things to do and see during Holy Week.

Easter is mostly a traditional, religious holiday here in Cuenca.  No Easter eggs, no baskets, no Easter bunnies.  Just an occasional chocolate bunny, but not necessarily just for Easter.  We did find a few bunny cookies this year.

A special Easter soup, called Fanesca, is prepared with 12 different ingredients, representing the 12 Aposilles, and salted cod.  Each family and restaurant have their own récipe. It can take days to prepare the ingredients.  Fanesca is only served during Holy Week.

Sincé we hadn't had Fanesca for a couple years, this year we tasted 2 kinds with friends.  One versión served the fish separately, the other version's cook added the cod in as it cooked. 
Kind of a strong, fishy flavor, both versions, but milder tasting without the fish cooked in.

(The first 2 soup pictures show the soup with little empanadas and then the separate fish.  The third pic is with the fish in.  That is not an onion ring.  We think it's banana. Both have lots of different kinds of beans and grains.)

On Good Friday, it is traditional to visit 12 Churches.  We managed to visit only 3 this year.  Mass was in progress during our visits, so no pictures, out of respect for the faithful.  We'll have to go back at another time for some interior shots.  Not all of our 53 churches are open every day, so it was a treat to be able to see the interior of some often closed.

Easter morning began with, what we thought, sunrise services at first.  LOUD singing, off-key...But, you know what?  Now we think it was the tail-end of a monster party in the neighborhood!
Those off-key singers were probably on their way to bed (or should have been!)

Church bells rang out all over the City during the day.  The Church nearby began Services about 9am, a more sane hour for music and celebration on Easter morning.

We enjoyed this parade of high school students! 
Not sure what the occasion was, besides Easter.

The parade was a good block long, very organized with transit pólice, ice cream vendors, street cleaners (in green), and an ambulance bringing up the rear.  Fun to take these pics from 6 stories up.

We're hoping you found the golden egg today and everyone ate lots of chocolate bunnies (or See's chocolate eggs!  or jelly beans!  or Peeps!!)   

Happy Easter!  Happy Spring to all in the North, too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crafts, Doce de Abril, 2014

12 de Abril Celebrations are always fun, especially the craft booths.  Always fun to see the variety of goodies and baubles.

Fun to people-watch, too.

Several craft venues, This one was  along 12 de Abril and Mother's Park.

This handsome couple should be posing for a portrait by this artist, too.

Craft booths went for a few blocks.

Nancy W making a purchase...

Our next big Holiday here is Holy Week leading up to Easter.  We're looking forward to that, too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

15 K Race for Doce de Abril, 2014

Lots of Celebrations, all over town!  We're celebrating the Founding of Cuenca, April 12, 1557.

The City officials tell us there were about 30,000 visiters for this festivity! 

We started our Sunday early.  The preparations for the 15K race got us up and at ém.  The location for the 10,000 runners was right on Av Solano in front of the Ital-Deli.

Workers set up early....o'dark thirty...

Interesting that loud music accompanied the workers...and drowned out the Palm Sunday Mass and music right up the street...

Disabled runners and children took off earlier, then the rest of the crowd. Adding to the excitement was a machine spraying confetti (red/gold, the colors of Cuenca!)  A celebration wouldn't be complete without loudspeakers playing Chola Cuencana!

We could see runners reach 12 de Abril, while the rest were still waiting to begin.  The crowd stretched for blocks!

Good running weather, not too hot, a little chilly for us spectators.

We caught up again to the race to see the winners racing to the finish line at the stadium.  We clapped with everyone else and shouted encouragement as the racers ran by. 

These ladies managed to cross the street and not get mowed down by the racers.  Notice the bouquet of herbs and flowers for Palm Sunday.

So impressive that the runners represented a cross-section of our population...Young, old, fit and non-fit, disabled, even doggies...  ALL running at our altitude and most finishing the race!

Running with the Ecuadorian flag!

Way to go!