Tuesday, September 29, 2015

City bus tour in Cuenca

This is Mike...
We took a city terribly, touristy, open air double-decker bus tour of the city today and had a blast. We loaded up at Parque Calderon for $8 per adult and $4 per child and drove around for nearly 3 hours if you include the half hour pause at the lookout. A couple things stood out on the trip. First, the city is far more urban hip than we thought, with classy restaurants and a vibrant university town aura about it. Secondly, the city never planned on open air double-decker buses zipping tourists through town and in some cases literally millimeters below high voltage power lines. Yep, you read that right, high voltage power lines almost scalping us on the upper deck as we drove by the sites. I know it sounds hard to believe and you may even be calling the B.S. card on me right now but I promise it is true. We all ducked to avoid certain decapitation multiple times and the other tourists on the upper deck were amused that Sierra and Zoe kept shrieking, "Daddy duck! Duck now Daddy!" I guess my kids still do love me. Best advice I could offer, if you are over 6'3" tall or have any fused vertebrae, don't sit on the upper deck of the bus. Who knows, maybe getting a flattop haircut by electrolysis might be a future selling point for this bus ride? Other than that we had a blast and would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to know more about Cuenca while you are in town.   
The open air double-decker bus had few visitor while we were there.

The town parks and squares make it a "green" feeling city

The weather was superb at 77F (25C) degrees and sunny

Looking down on the University of Cuenca

The city is bustling during the weekdays

The city has a rich history of preservation

One of the more popular restaurants in Cuenca (If you look to the upper right you can see an armed guard ensuring the patrons are left undisturbed). Seeing armed guards everywhere is something you have to get used to if you plan on visiting Latin America.  

The city has a European yet distinctly South American feel about it.

Cuenca has 4 rivers that course through town

Some of Cuenca is very modern

A bridge linking the modern and historic sections of town.

The older stately homes have better views of downtown.

The kids loved looking down from the upper deck

One of the many higher education centers in town.

Nice homes throughout town.

Indigenous peoples wearing the colors of their villages walking to work.

The hills above town are very reminiscent of Southern California hillsides

Looking down on Cuenca

Driving on the main street to "el Centro"

After the bus ride we stopped by a great restaurant for a late lunch.

This restaurant is a regular for expats and many of them run up tabs that are later paid when the Social Security checks role in at the end of the month.

Zoe and I, let Elise and Sierra go shopping downtown and we headed to a neighborhood park.

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