GDP of Cuenca jumps 10%
After breakfast our guides, Juan Carlos and Diego join us for a Cuenca city tour. First by coach, we drive to Turi Hill which is a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the entire city. On route we stop at the ceramics gallery of Eduardo Vega. Mr Vega is a renowned ceramics artist and his gallery is very appealing. So appealing in fact, that we pretty much buy his entire stock! From here we visit the Homero Ortega Panama Hat Company where we learn about the history and process of Panama hat making. Some hats take two days to make and cost just $20 dollars, and some really fine hats take six months or more to make and cost a lot more! Yet again, more purchases are made. Our coach driver, Neptali, suggests we rent a trailer to carry all the boxes and packages.
Since we have spent all our money we now head into the city centre to visit the main food market. There are vegetables and fruits, meat, fish, flowers, and much more. On the first floor we taste some Ecuadorian chocolate. This has a high cocoa factor and is very bitter. The local fudge helps the taste buds a bit. From the food market we pass by the flower market and visit the cathedral before returning via the main square to our hotel.
This evening we drive to the Mansion Alcazar, a tiny boutique hotel with an award winning restaurant where we enjoy a fine meal.