Thursday, November 7, 2013

ART IN CUENCA ECUADOR - Cuenca's November 2013 Festival De Artesanias De America - Oh, how I love ART!

A fabulous weekend of amazing art!

I love art!  I love music!  I love vendor food!  I love decorating my apartment! I love Cuenca!!  Back in April, we enjoyed the art festival so much, and bought fabulous colorful wall art for our apartment #5, which we had just moved into.  It needed such attention, and with colorful splashes of paint and beautiful art from the festival, it was starting to look like our place.  I couldn't wait for the November show that everyone said would happen - and it finally did! 

This past weekend was the celebration of Cuenca's independence from Spain 193 years ago, and it is Cuenca's largest yearly festival!

For three glorious days, Bo and I perused the vendor booths along with the crowds, making some very special purchases for our small apartment.  We are happy with our choices, and it was such a joyous time for us and Cuenca's shopping crowds.

I'll let my photography tell the story!

All along the Tomebamba River and in different areas of the Historic District, talented musicians played fabulous music and marketed their CDs. 

The indigenous music added so much to the flavor of the festival.

These were my favorite musicians, and oh so talented.......

......and I bought two of their CDs, which I continue to enjoy immensely.

A very talented harpist drew in the crowds.

It isn't a festival without music AND dancing!!!

Both sides of the Tomebamba River were lined with vendors, tents, and shoppers.  All weekend, the weather was perfect - comfortably warm and just a sprinkling of rain!  

The Tent-lined Tomebamba River was the perfect place for relaxing and cooling off.

Fragrant and spectacular flowers are always abundant during Cuenca's many festivals.

We stopped to visit our favorite flower vendedora, Anita, and she lovingly bought Bo and me Guaguas de pan.  These are traditional Ecuadorian sweet bread figures. They are shaped like babies or dolls and have a cream filling inside. Guaguas are a part of the Day of the Deceased holiday which is celebrated on Saturday, November 2nd.   Anita also bought us a hot drink called Colada Morada, a traditional beverage for Dia De Los Muertos.  They were a delicious treat, and we were touched by Anita's thoughtfulness towards us.

While we were enjoying our special treats and talking with Anita, suddenly motorcycle cops flashed by with secret service men and military and security cars.  President Correa was being escorted to a military parade that was going on along Huayana Capac.  Darn, I missed getting his photo!

Some drink too much and end up sleeping along the city sidewalks.

This beautiful aged woman resting hugged me when I told her my name, gave her a coin, and then prayerfully blessed her.

Ahhhh, the beautiful children of Cuenca.  How precious!!  Love her outfit, and her innocent fascination with the big bug.

Some of the children had their faces painted for the festivities.  

There was a huge variety of wares for sale - from those "killer" high heeled shoes......

.......to beautiful handcrafted masks (we had to have these!!!)......

and unique and colorful pottery (and these too!!).

A large tent displayed the history and unique work of the Amazon people.  This woman glaring at my camera made sure I put a coin in the basket at her feet.  You betcha, I will!!!!

The light rail display at the Otorongo Plaza drew quite the crowds.  They had a fabulous display showing the future routes throughout the city that this modern railway will be traveling.  It is going to eliminate the loud and stinky buses from the Historic District - Yippee, since we live right on a main and noisy bus route!!  What a beautiful city we live in - and it's going to be even more amazing with this transportation addition.

While many were spending money at this amazing art show, the poor were hoping for a coin or two.  You will see Luis hanging around the market steps or sitting along the historic area streets, always ready for someone's blessing.

Bo was drawn to these inexpensive stick figures.....

....and ended up buying the $5 colorful Iguana from this humble artist.

We always get the names of the people we meet and buy from.  Servilio Sarango proudly wrote his name for us in Bo's little book.  He then picked a simple stick figure and gifted it to us, asking us if we would bring him a copy of the photos I took of him and his work.  We know where he lives and works, so we will definitely honor his wishes.  It's so important to us to know the people we encounter here and to somehow bless them.  My photography always makes them smile.

We followed this unique old woman as she hobbled along the city sidewalks....

.....all that weight on her frail and aged body.......

.....and when she stopped at a food vendor booth, we bought her meal.  She was so tired and so grateful.  There are so many people to bless here along the city streets. 

Yes, some of our favorite foods will come from the hardworking street vendors.  We loved having Llapingachos (yap-in-gachos), a traditional Ecuadorian oh-so-delicious potato cake that is stuffed with a white cheese.....

....and served with finely diced raw onion and tomatoes.  Five for $1.00!!  Bet ya can't eat just one, or five!!!!

For us, it's so convenient to live right in the heart of the Historic District.  The art show along the river is just a few blocks from our apartment, so we were able to continually go home and rest, and then back out shopping!  This particular route home along the Tomebamba river is quite colorful.  Yes, Cuenca is a happening city, and this artsy festive weekend was one of the best yet!

I hope you enjoyed my pictorial essay of our fabulous weekend in Cuenca!  Always, thank you for your comments.  It's always so nice to hear from our Blog Fans.


  1. I already can't wait for next year when we can be there to experience this. I'm hoping we'll see a little of the vendors during the Christmas shopping season. Did you see that we found an apartment? We're thrilled. It's in the area we wanted, has 3 BR (room for guests) and across the street from the river Y. It's bigger than we wanted at 2000 sf but the price was right. Oh, and unfurnished...LOL! So we'll be shopping, a LOT!

    1. Hi Stu and Donna,
      Yes, in April you'll be enjoying the next Art Festival!
      Your rental find sounds fabulous - and it's going to be wonderful for you to furnish it and make it the way you want your home to be. After all the "furnished" places we ran through in 4 months, we are happy we decided on an unfurnished place. Soon you'll be here ready to begin your Cuenca adventure, and we look forward to seeing you both again.

    2. Jeremiah( Bo's coworker@Cuenca'sCafedeNucallacta)November 30, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      Wow, Linda, as one who photographs, a lot, around Cuenca, and today in Paute, I have to tell you, that your pictures are the tops! You are a wonderful, sensitive artist and it shows in your lovely home-the walls are dynamic!
      Viewers of Ecuador photos have to keep in mind, that there is a great deal of inhibition on the part of the people, particularly, the indigenous people, to photography, Similar to the tribal people of the U. S ., who feel that you are capturing their soul.Something to bear in mind.
      Just want to pass on to your readers, someone we both know. Bill Riordan, NYC photographer residing in Cuenca. Check out his website; www.wjr-images.com. His photos are sublime.

    3. Hi Jeremiah,
      Welcome to our Blog! Thanks for the kind praises for my photography - truly my passion! One of the things I enjoy most about living in breathtaking Ecuador is photographing this land and its beautiful people. I hope you continue to enjoy my blog posts and more photography to come!
      See you soon.


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