Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hats Off To the City of Cuenca

 I guess it's been awhile since the last post.  We actually haven't been doing much,  we took a few days off the road at a beach town called Playas. Then rode into the mountains on a bone chilling ride to 10,000ft through Cajas NP to an old city called Cuenca.  We stayed there four days checking out the cobblestone streets of the Spanish colonial city.  The Spanish settled in the city in 1557 eventually to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.  Here is the UNESCO listing               or check out Wikipedia at,_Ecuador
There will be a handful of pictures from the beach then mostly pictures of buildings around Cuenca since that is the major attraction there.  This post wouldn't be complete without some kind of off the wall photos for your enjoyment,  consider this your warning.  We start off on the ride from the whale watch town of Puerto Lopez.  In Olon we came across this church built in the shape of a boat on the edge of the cliff.

Inside there is a statue of the Virgin of the Rosa Mistica that cried tears of blood in 1990

We couldn't take pictures in the main part of the church they were doing a baptism at the time

                             Here is a cliff side view

We then moved on to Playas for some fun in the sun,  when it was shining that is.
           Can you still drink alcohol on the beaches in the US?
 All day long there was a succession of people trying to sell stuff,  ice cream here

This guy was selling seafood cocktails and ceviche

                                  Watermelon here, get your watermelon

                 Get your picture taken on Shamu

                 Sunglasses anyone?

                    Trinkets of all sorts and all sorts of junk made in the R.O.C.

                 Bootleg CD's and DVD's. Made in Ecuador

                Fresh fish for sale,  five fish four dollars

We were wondering if you can still use inner tubes atthe beaches in the US?

     This boat? was three logs lashed together with wooden oars, some have sails
Paddle out turn around let out the fish net.  I like the contrast with the oil tanker in background

We figured it was time to get the riding boots shined after four months and 13000 miles

After three days at the beach we wanted to ride again so we headed for the hills,  the only problem was,  the hills are cold,wet and cloud covered.  The  road went to 10000 ft and the mountains to 12000 ft through Cajas NP.  Luckily by the time we dropped down into Cuenca it was sunny and springlike weather,  say 60 degrees

                               Welcome to Cuenca.            

Somehow neither of us got a daytime picture of the front of this cathedral, the main attraction
                                             This is some of the front 
The tile domes on top are not as big as originally planned because the main structure couldn't hold the weight

The massive main entrance complete with Antichrist graffiti

Stonework on the columns in the doorway, I think they are the twelve apostles

There were two buildings from the 1800's with an Arabic influence

We took the bus tour of the city to find this stuff out

                  City Hall

                French influence 

Back on the bus for night shots

Ever heard of Panama hats?  Well Einstein,  they aren't from Panama,  they originated in Ecuador.  They eventually started being shipped out of Panama so that is when the confusion started.  Apparently so many hats are sold that lots of people in lots of local villages make a 
living weaving these hats.  As a matter of fact,  the art of weaving was listed by UNESCO in 2012 on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.     or here
We took a walk through this factory/museum

This is the manual method done by hand,  now they use machines.  Cuenca is where most of the hats are finished.  They buy from all of the villages then do the bleaching shaping and finishing here before the hats are exported.
                   Stacks of unfinished hats 
                      Bleached or dyed in these vat, where they then become bell shaped
After the hats dry the press operators grab a mold depending on shape and size
          The mold goes into one of these presses
            And presto, trimmed shaped and stacked. I asked how many a day?  300 each
            This guy is making women's hats the other guy men's hats
        Hats ready to be banded,  they expande their line from white hats to a variety of colors and also 
             started making handbags and other accessories. Banding process is next

At this point I got thrown out of the factory so I didn't get a chance to get a picture of completed hats so I found this one on the Internet
The time was 12:30, they were closing for lunch until 2:00 so they asked me to come back then. 
What  were you thinking?
  Another thing we did while in Cuenca, well usually everywhere we stop, we went to the local market to see what they had to offer.  Here all sorts of grains

       Large variety of vegetables
           Some mostly skinned cow faces.  What? Not hungry? How about some
         Legs.  You eat chicken legs don't you?
    Not into beef?  How about some pork?
      Face the facts,  if we weren't supposed to eat animals,  why do they taste like meat?

A few pictures from around town to bring this post to an end
This was actually from the church on the cliff
Some tree in the park, we think it's dead but not sure
It has some green in there and it's trimmed
We call it. Standing Driftwood

We got a kick out of this well dressed man.  We were eating in a restaurant and he stands at the 
window bumming food or money which happens constantly to Americans.  He even had a brand new backpack on.  When I put the camera up to the window to take his picture,  he put his hand up, didn't like that idea.  At least he left after that.

Copyright infringement?  Not in Ecuador.

          Judy decided to stay in Ecuador and make hats

1 comment:

  1. Need a metal detector beaches and old towns lost jewelry and old coins. How much were the hats?