Soccer. Duh. Soccer is everywhere, whether it be found in a professional stadium or a space of green, or any flat spot of dirt. Back home I find many people, especially those younger folks, with their faces buried in some electronic device or butts firmly planted in front of their computer or TV playing video games. The only thing getting exercised is their eyeballs and thumbs. Here, kids get outside and PLAY. All they seem to need is a simple ball and they are in heaven. There are all sorts of variations on soccer fields throughout Cuenca.
The main soccer stadium is just down the street from me. It was built in 1945 and remodeled again in 1971 and 2001. It seats 23,000.
Volleyball. You wouldn't think it, but V-ball is very popular here. Again, it can be any spot big enough, a net, and a ball and you're set. Though, here, the game is typically played 3 on 3 versus 5 on 5.
Fishing. At 8,000+ feet? Yep. Trout, that is. There are a lot of lakes and stocked ponds to be found up in the Cajas. Some places, you can rent a stick and line to do the fishing (nothing fancy here) and you pay based on the fish you catch.
In the Jefferson Coliseum sporting complex you will find:
- Basketball courts
- Tennis courts
- Soccer field
- Rock climbing wall
- Olympic sized swimming pool with 10 lanes, separate from another pool dedicated to only diving with 3 different platform levels
- Martial arts
- ...and the main coliseum arena dedicated to professional basketball games
- a 1,000+ ft Velodrome (bicycling) with up to 43 degree embankments!
- an indoor roller rink much like the Velodrome with banked curves
Running. Sure....after the person who just snatched your watch off your wrist!!! Just kidding!!! We have 4 rivers that slice through Cuenca and each of them have greenbelts set aside as parks and running paths for those avid joggers who can run and still breath at 8,200 feet!!!
Gyms. There are several smattered about town, but they are rather small in comparison to the 'big-box' gyms back home. They're typically outfitted nicely with aerobic equipment and free-weights, but it's rare to find one that also includes showers, sauna, pool, etc.
Bicycling. Not so much. What bicyclists you do see around town are generally those who use them to run an errand or something. This is probably because our streets are generally narrow and there's no dedicated bike lanes. That, and the maniac driving doesn't make bicycling too inviting.
Hiking. Plenty of that in the Cajas.
Walking. The city version of 'hiking'. LOTS of that to do around here. People walk, Walk, WALK here. No driving from one strip mall to the next strip mall three blocks away...nooooo. They walk their arses off here.
Stair climbing. I have a nutcase best friend back home who likes to 'go run the stairs' during his lunch hour. Ahem....I am talking the stairs of a 40 FLOOR OFFICE BUILDING!!!! He would casually mention he ran the stairs TWICE on his break as if was as difficult as slicing toast. GRRRRRR Anyhoo, we don't have them thar highrises here in Cuenca...the most you'll find is maybe 10 floors and there aren't even many of those. But, outside, going from the lower level of the 'New Town' area up the embankment from the river to the 'Old Town' area is several sets of staircases. One in particular I hoofed recently was 89 steps. Pretty good workout at 8,200 feet...though my best friend would probably guffaw at it. HRRMMPPHH!!!
So, there you go. An idea of what kind of sporting facilities and options you have for physical fitness and/or sports entertainment, though I'm sure I've overlooked a few. Walking your dog, lugging bags of fresh fruits and vegetables from the outdoor markets up 2 or 3 flights to your apartment, lifting those mega-sized beer glasses, walking a block to catch the taxi...I know...I know...I should give them due space here in this blog but it's time for photos!!!
|Jefferson Coliseum - Basketball|
|Jefferson Coliseum structure|
|Olympic diving platforms|
|Rock climbing wall|
|Soccer practice fields|
|Translated: Olympic Pool, Judo, Massage rooms, Physical Therapy, Coliseum, Raquetball, Cafeteria|