Cuenca

April 25, 2014
Cuenca is a charming city nestled in the mountains at 8,200 feet, four rivers run through it. It has a number of historical buildings and it is home to many US expats. Weather is mild year round. It reminded me a lot of coastal California. It's no wonder many from the US choose to retire there (plus, you can live like royalty for $2000/mo or so we were told). We spent two nights in Cuenca, I would've liked to stay at least one more.

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We stayed at Hotel Casa del Aguila which is a restored colonial mansion. It's only a few blocks from the New Cathedral so the location was very good. Accomodations were comfortable, we loved the shower. It had such great water pressure. Our room had a balcony overlooking the city. It was a task to find cigars, but we eventually did, we enjoyed sitting on the patio sipping Pilsener, while Frank puffed away.

New Cathedral

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Old Cathedral





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Finding specific places was a struggle. We could not grasp the system used for addresses and google maps was little help. Tripadvisor had plenty of restaurants with great reviews, we tried to seek out so many, but we were led on one wild goose chase after another. We were only successful at tracking a few down, and when we first found them they were closed... Our first night we took a siesta when we should've been eating. When we wandered out about 7:30 we found everything closed. We wandered the street for 1.5 hours in search of food. I really thought we'd be eating snacks from the tienda. We never found our lunch choice and only ate a Chilean empanada before returning to the hotel to nap.

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Later, we were starved; I was so happy to find Mansion Alcazar open. It is a gourmet restaurant, the fanciest in Cuenca. We were led right back to a table beside the garden, which was beautiful, by the way. We figured we were meant to celebrate the eve of our 17th Anniversary. Dinner was great, we enjoyed the bottle of Chilean wine even more. Compared to prices at home, our dinner seemed like a steal at $62, wine was a separate bill for $27. We started with quinoa and onion soups, entrees were lamb chops and seabass, and dessert was strawberry carpaccio and basil ice cream, and chocolate cake & mousse.













Our other dinner was at Restaurante Todosantos which is located in a convent in the heart of city along the Tomebamba River. The chef, Mauricio, is warm and friendly, and from Chicago's north side, oddly enough. A new menu was being introduced the following week, but for now, he recommended the steak for two, and we wanted to try the pasta so we also ordered cheese ravioli. The pasta was better than the steak, but overall dinner was quite tasty.

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A couple things to note about Cuenca: The water is safe to drink. Rather than begging for change, at intersections you'd find performers like this guy who juggled machetes to keep drivers entertained and to earn some cash (we later found this to be the case all over the country except for La Mariscal in Quito).

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We took a daytrip to Ingapirca, but I'll share those details in a seperate post. I wrap up Cuenca with a few other sights.



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We had to laugh when we were given a large key for our room, much like hotel's Italy, we had to keep tradition and name it, meet squishy.



1 comments:

KathyinNY said...

It looks like a lovely city. Thanks once again for posting and describing your experience.

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