Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Because we spend our days in the city, it's always nice to have an out-of-city experience!  So, on Sunday, we walked from El Centro to Tres Puentes along the Yunancay River to meet up with Steve and Mary, creators of South of Zero and Expadorian Blogs. We ended up spending the day together as they took us on a Looooong walk through their neck of the woods.  It was another beautiful warm and sunny day, and we had a fun and funny time (they enjoy laughing and joking around just like us) getting to know each other and seeing lots of new sites along the way.

of course, I had my camera with me, and I was able to photograph new areas more locals of Cuenca.  It was enjoyable capturing some of the scenic landmarks as well as photographing special Ecuadorian people we met along the way.  One never knows what or whom they will encounter in a day, and for me, it's about the people we meet and the stories they graciously share.  I love engaging the local people with my Spanish questions which they so willingly answer, letting me behind their curtain and into their humble lives.  They also love to know about us, estranjeros (foreigners) - why we've come to Cuenca and what we think about their homeland - especially, where we're from and why we've left the United States for Cuenca, Ecuador.  

A Photojournal Story of Our Day with SOZ Steve and Mary

Mary and Steve from South of Zero - Ready to torture us on a LONG walk outside the city.  It was an exceptionally warm and "blue sky" day - and we loved having them as our tour guides.

The weather was perfect today for the locals who do their laundry in the river and then lay them on the grassy slopes to dry (this is the Yunancay River).
I'm always interested in the locals' lifestyle and how they live.  I had a friendly conversation with Joanna and Maria who told me that because they have little water at home (enough for cooking and bathing) they come to the river where they have plentiful water and can scrub their laundry on the rocks.  They shared that more people used to wash in the river, but the water is not as pure as it used to be.

We also saw locals bathing their pets this warm and sunny afternoon.  Do you think this dog is going to give in so easily?  I think NOT! 
When we're out on our long Cuenca walks, I am always happy to see the beautiful foliage and colorful plants in January.  Cuenca always presents this photographer with an incredible beauty!  (photos above and below).
There are walking/running/bike paths along the beautiful rivers of Cuenca.
......and artistically painted walls along the city streets.
We visited Parque Paraiso (Huayna-Capac, Santa Ana de Los Cuatro Rios de Cuenca) , and strolled along their wooden walkways. 
Mary and Steve were very patient with this photographer who loves to stop (a lot!) and capture the beauty that adorns this city.  More beautiful colorful flowers (photo below)!  The weather here is perfect for us - not to hot or cold, no humidity, no mosquitoes, and flowering plants year round!!!
I absolutely love this area along Calle De Las Herrerias.  The colorful buildings and the magical sky makes this look like a painting!  By now, these four walkers are tired, hungry, and thirsty, so we headed for La Casa De las Golosinas where they make the best Tamales in the world (Bo and I think!).  Steve and Mary also agree that these Tamales ROCK!  If you want cold beers to go with your Tamales, don't go on a Sunday!
Sra. Zoila Quesada is the Tamale creator and owner of this tiny restaurant.  She saw my camera and asked me if I would take her photo.  Of course, I waited while she went to change her apron and freshen up before posing.  We chatted in Spanish and she proudly began to share her success by sitting with us and showing us different articles and magazines where her story and photos of her delicious tamales have been featured.
As hungry and thirsty as I was, while Bo, Steve and Mary feasted, I continued to chat with and photography Sra. Zoila and she was loving it!
If you've never eaten here, YOU MUST!  I told Sr. Zoila I was going to share her photos on my blog and let our readers know about her delicious tamales, which are only 60 cents each (Address: Calle Del Las Herrerias 2-10).  She proudly smiled.  I then told her I would love to see her production line and how she makes her prize tamales.  She invited me back to let me behind the curtain and share in this wonderful experience! (More photos to come!!!)  It really makes me happy when I meet the locals and am able to share in their humble lives and learn about their hardworking culture.  
What's so fun about meeting new friends is sharing our individual Cuenca experiences with each other.  We introduced Steve and Mary to the best Tamales (which were introduced to us by our friends Tim and Ruta), and now they were going to take us to their delicious Ecuadorian out-of-the-way lunch haven!  (Three happy hams posing for this photographer!  Do they look like they've just walked 100 miles?  Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit.....but we did walk for miles and miles and miles!)
The ICE COLD beers and crispy salty Platanos Chips were to die for!!
The Ceviche De Cameron was indescribably delicious ($4.50, really!!!)......
.....and the Encebollado was perfectly seasoned and chock full of the most heavenly seafood (Tuna) and other surprise ingredients ($2.25 - I kid you not!!!).
 It was a fabulous way to end our day - sitting under the shaded tables outside, sharing funny stories about our lives and yucking it up together.  Steve and Mary arrived one week before we did in December and are going through some of the same "Visa" challenges as we are.  Now we can encourage each other and then go and celebrate when we finally accomplish receiving our visas and cedulas.  Yes, it was another good day in Cuenca - making new friends and meeting more wonderful locals along the way.

I can't wait to take Sra. Zoila her photos and watch her make tamales!!


  1. I was salivating as I saw the pictures of the food and read the descriptions.

  2. Yes, Shadley,
    The food here is DELICIOUS! I've read and heard others say the Ecuadorian food is bland and tasteless, however, Bo and I tend to disagree.
    I'm looking forward to my "Tamale Time" with Sra. Zoila.

  3. Linda, now you know why we are ready to reward ourselves with an ice cold cervesa after our long walks (and this was the shorter version.) Thanks so much for introducing us to a terrific tamale place, we plan on returning often. Mary & Steve

  4. Yikes, you two,
    I thought this was the Loooooooooong version.
    It was a great walk and a delicious time together.
    Let us know when you're ready for a city walk/tour.
    Bo and Linda

  5. Went to the dentist yesterday and thought that Zoila's tamales would be the perfect soft food to eat. Whew, was I tired after that walk. Would love to take you up on the city tour. Mary

    1. Hi Mary,
      Ahhhh, Sra. Zoila's Tamales - sooooooo delicious! We spend Saturday with Zoila and her family in Tamale Heaven, and I'll be sharing the photos soon! What a time and what a treat. It was more than my words will be able to describe.

      Yes, let's get together SOON and trip around the city together. We'll be in touch!
      Bo and Linda

  6. Great post - getting really excited now that we've booked our tickets for our month long exploratory trip. If you're on Facebook, please friend me at http://facebook.com/donna.mcnicol so we can keep in touch. Otherwise, drop me an email to donna mcnicol (no spaces) at gmail. Love to meet up when we get in town this April.

    1. How excited you both must be, Donna!
      A month exploratory trip will give you time to see and do so much. We are not on Facebook, but we are sure to stay in touch and meet you in April. It will be here before you know it. Until then, keep on blogging and reading and blogging.
      See you soon!


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