24.03.2011 - 27.03.2011
Cuenca is the undisputed jewel in the crown of Ecuador when it comes to towns and cities – by far the most beautiful example of colonial architecture and town planning in the country. The historic centre is one of the largest, and the houses are generally well maintained under the classic red slate rooftops. There’s a wealth of refreshing greenery, and a pleasant riverside backed on to by majestic colonial mansions. As Ecuador’s 3rd city and a top tourist attraction, it also boasts a wealth of interesting religious buildings and museums.
View from the breakfast terrace:
La Catedral Moderno:
In the old cathedral I helped a lady put up a display board which the local children had put together.
When I said I was from England she told me how appalling it was that abortion was legal there, and that if there was no abortion then there would be no teenage pregnancy. Not quite sure she’s done her homework.
The display from the kids about how wonderful children and families are was lovely, but for me their teacher’s simple explanation of abortion given to the 4-5 year old kids was totally inappropriate – quite simply “cuando medicos y mujeres matan a bebes” (when doctors and women kill babies). When asked for my opinion I told her I thought it was ‘complejo’.
El Museo de Arte Moderno
Excellent gallery – a very creative & interesting space for exhibition. The main feature was from a lady who seemed to be patroness of the arts in Cuenca. I’m pretty sure that’s why she had so much wall space, as the pieces weren’t really up to much.
The highlight for me was an extensive display of art produced by the local children – I thought some of their pieces far surpassed the main feature!
Spot the giraffe! (one for mum)
“La contaminacion: hoy mueron los pajaritos manana seremos nosotros”
(Pollution: today the little birds die, tomorrow it will be us)
“La contaminacion: nosotros eligimos la vida o la muerte”
(Pollution: we choose life or death)
This young man has talent!
I like the juxtaposition here – one is called ‘the Christ’ and one is called ‘the car’
This is a collaboration between various kids, I think they may have had some semi-professional help as it wouldn’t look out of place in the Tate Modern. How inspiring for the kids to have their work displayed in the leading modern art museum of the city.
I also rather liked this photo in the Crespo museum – it’s called ‘indecision’
Back out in the open here’s a selection of shots from just wandering the streets of Cuenca:
Over the rooftops
You know what they say about buses..
Honestly how did people put up with such blatant self pitying martyrdom for so many hundreds of years? (thoroughly bored of dreary religious art)
After a 6 hour bus journey from Cuenca I went straight to the station where my guidebook told me I could purchase a ticket for a train journey through the mountains called Nariz del Diablo. Actually the train no long leaves from Riobamba, but from a town 2 hours by bus back the way I came! So I did a Japanese tourist visit – ran round the sites and took some pictures – before jumping back on a bus to the town of Alausi.
Nariz del Diablo
Nariz del Diablo (or ‘Devil’s Nose’) takes its name from an outcrop of rock which engineers had to conquer in the mission to connect the coastal regions with the cities and towns of the Andes. They developed a system which zig-zags back and forth up the rock face, rapidly climbing over 1000m.
Following devastation of the tracks in an ‘El Nino’ storm in the 90s a small section of the track remains for tourists only, including the Nariz del Diablo ascent. There and back takes around 2 hours; the Andean scenery is of course spectacular. Eat your heart out Settle-Carlisle.
La Nariz del Diablo - the rock face which engineers had to tackle in order to link the Andes with the coast
Zig-zagging up the Nariz del Diablo
Looking back down the rock face we've just climbed!
One for Lucy