Our last Sun in So America.
We awoke at 7:30am and Wayne said, “we have only 30 minutes till the bus leaves”, and we both started laughing and agreed this free time felt sooo good! Yippee, no more schedules!!
Had breakfast at the hotel and when I checked my emails I opened a BofA alert that my credit card, which I haven’t used for six weeks, just bought a $200.00 plus train ticket in Italy. I contacted B of A who knew I was in Ecuador and all was handled immediately. The fraud gal I was talking with said the funny part was that a separate transaction fee in Italy of about $4.00 had been denied by B of A but the actual purchase hadn’t been denied till I called. She assured me that they would have caught the fraud prior to it actually hitting my account as it was still in the pending status. I really like how I get an email the moment my card is used. Also luckily this has been a total cash trip and we were not using the card to travel as it had to be shut down.
Out if the hotel and down the street to start our day adventure. Tomorrow we are taking a bus to Guayaquil for our flight to Lima at 6:30pm so thought we would check out getting tickets and times. Since the bus station was more than a walk away we hailed a cab and for $1.50 we were there. The bus leaves every 35 to 40 minutes and will cost us $8.00 each for the 4 hour trip. We also verified that it arrives in Guayaquil really close to the airport so a quick cab ride and we are there. After getting all our information we went back outside and checked out the local bus schedule as we decided it would be fun jumping on a bus and exploring. We chose bus line #7 as it listed the Mercado Libre and of course we needed to check that out. The ride up and down streets in local neighborhoods was fun and we jumped off at the market.
After finishing wandering the totally local huge market we went back out and scouted for a bus that listed something we recognized. This next bus took us way into the hills of Cuenca and Wayne was able to get a great city shot while the driver took a break with us as the only riders. Once back on the road we back tracked to the market and then to the old town center where we jumped off. Great fun adventure as always on the local city bus!!
An adventure always makes us hungry and it was time for lunch so we headed for the only restaurant with outside seating that we had discovered yesterday. I had the Cuban black bean soup with onions for $2.95 (repeat of yesterday) and Wayne had the $4.00 fixed price lunch. It started with potato soup and he chose the chicken breast with rice and vegetables (there were four entree choices) that came with juice and dessert. Quite the good value.
While we were eating the Ukrainian couple from New York (who are moving to Cuenca) that we met yesterday at our hotel came by looking for a table so we invited them to join us as we had the last two available outside seats. We had some great conversation and learned a lot about their thoughts on the situation in the Ukraine (their home country) and also about the research they had done on retiring here in Cuenca.
After lunch we took off to walk more of the city in bits and pieces. We would head out in a new direction, spot a church dome and head off. There usually would be a small plaza with benches and we would sit and rest (Wayne was almost more considerate about my limitations than I was) entertaining ourselves people watching for a bit and then heading off in a new direction. This city somehow did not suffer massive earthquake devastation over the years as did the rest of Ecuador so there is more colonial architecture in tack everywhere you look. Such an interesting, inexpensive, mellow, clean beautiful setting and with the mild climate we can understand why this town lures so many xpats here to live.
We contemplated where to go for our last dinner in Cuenca and decided on a popular (always a long line to get in) restaurant under the porticos. Since we eat early and most locals eat about 7:00pm we got right in and scored the last window seat. I had Mac and cheese with red wine and Wayne had a chicken mushroom crepe with white wine. It was fun watching the vendors setting up their wares for the Sunday night strollers. Sunday night usually brings out older couples, families with the kids riding their little trikes or toddling along and young lovers holding hands or snuggling on park benches. Lots of street vendors are selling goodies and here in Cuenca the caramel pop corn balls and flavored meringue served in ice cream cones are the favorite. In every Latin town this is one of our favorite times to enjoy the local flavor.
Perfect final evening memory finish to an absolutely perfect trip!
We slowly meandered the few blocks to our hotel and upon entering our room we were greeted with a plate of four custard type bites drizzled with honey. I think I forgot to mention that last night when we climbed into bed we were greeted by a hot water bottle and tonight was the same. Such a nice touch and my back and hip were so appreciative of the special attention. The Forum Hotel is a gem!!!
Our last Sun in So America.