Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Independence Day Cuenca!

Independence Day in Cuenca is celebrated much like Fourth of July in the States: a day off from work, families get together for an afternoon picnic, and fireworks at night (okay, sometimes in the afternoon!). We've been celebrating as well with Ecuadorian families, watching parades, dancing in the streets and non-stop music.

Cuenca's history is steeped in tradition going back to the Canari Indians who first inhabited this jewel in the Southern Sierras, to the Incas, and then the Spaniards who ruled for 300 years until the liberator, Simon Bolivar, gave Cuenca back its independence.

The Spanish left quite a legacy in Cuenca, giving us the old colonial homes that occupy much of "el centro," the Spanish language, and the Roman Catholic Church. With such a long and rich history, no wonder it takes a month to celebrate!

We had an unfortunate incident happen in Parque Calderon last Saturday afternoon with some friends, so we have avoided the main square.

Cuenca is very safe, but during this week of festivities you have tourists from around the globe descending upon this beautiful city. We have a friend who has lived in Cuenca for 17 years and said that he also avoids "al centro" during the Independence Day celebrations. Because there is so much going on everywhere, you don't have to be at the center of the action to enjoy the beauty and splendor of this joyous holiday.

We have made so many wonderful Ecuadorian friends and count ourselves blessed to be taken in by these families. We missed a trip to Paute yesterday with an Ecuadorian family because I've been experiencing some eye problems (hopefully it's just old age).

Happy Independence Day Cuenca!
Until next time...hasta luego!

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