Another beautiful day in Cuenca. It was mostly overcast today, but still hovered around 16 degrees. After some suggestions from the Canadian expats we spent time with last night we started our day with an adventure on the public transit system this morning. We hopped on the #7 blue bus W/B on Av. 12 de Abril and paid our .25 cent fare for a trip to the Mall Del Rio. The buses are loud and a bit grimy, but are very efficient. There is a digital sign on each one constantly telling you what the next two stops are, and so long as you have your .25 cents to drop into the electronic fare box it is absolutely painless.
The Mall Del Rio is quite impressive. It has a great selection of stores, the department store Campo (I think that is the correct name) was fantastic with its selection, it even had some type of reflective heat suit for sale.
It also had to be the safest Mall I’ve been in for a while. I counted no less than eight armed security guards walking around the Mall. We then headed back toward the center of Town. We jumped off the bus at the Magnolia Caffe on Calle Larga. There was no one else there and we had the place to ourselves. The decor was very relaxed
and the service was excellent. We each had a panini type sandwich with some fries and a grande cerveza (600ml) for $18.00 for the both of us.
We checked out the interior of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. It is a very impressive building and one can certainly see how the Catholic Church was able to wield such impressive control over the people. From the Plazoleta Victor J. Cuesta we headed out to check out the many markets in the area. It is interesting to see the different types of markets, each one seemed to have its own focus. Some were mainly clothes, household equipment, or touristy souvenirs.
For dinner we went to an excellent restaurant that had been suggested to us. Mangiare benne which is part of the Hostel Angel on Estevez de Toral, just off of Simon Bolivar. The ambience is very nice and the food and wine were excellent. The service was great and the price was hard to beat. Even with a bottle of wine and dessert it came to less than $50.00. Bear in mind that includes the 12% sales tax.
The walk back to our hotel was nice even though it was 9pm by then. I did not see any signs of rampaging crime anywhere during our walk.