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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cuenca Independence Day Festivals - 2016 (Special Edition)

So, what's so SPECIAL about Special Edition??  The Independence (from Spain) Day festivals run for a week (this year Nov 1 - 6) and tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of people come from all over to attend.  I think it's the biggest and liveliest festival of the entire year.   I almost missed the whole thing.  That's because I'm headed to the country we gained independence FROM....Spain....as I'm writing this.

Yesterday, in amongst packing, transporting Gracie to my friends Cherry and Reg to babysit, paying first of the month bills, etc, I managed to dart around the city on my motorcycle and take in a few of the festivities, buy some art, eat chocolates, listen to music, and take photos....for you, my dear readers.

THAT's why 'Special Edition'.

Just one location, lining the Tomebamba river, along 12 de Abril and 3 Noviembre streets, had at least 100 vendor tents.  All over the city were performances in professional venues as well as stages set up in the streets.  The arts/crafts fairs focus on artesans who make their own product whether it be wood carvings, furniture, paintings, chocolates, preserves, cheese, breads, jewelry, you get the idea.

All of this under beautiful sunny skies and temps in the low 80's (higher than normal for us).

So, let's just go to the photos and videos I took so you can see and hear for yourself.

First up...the Pumapungo Museum complex where the artists were scattered among the buildings as well as inside the museum.

The central fountain adorned with flowers and palms.

I've always liked wood art.  I purchased the little wood house on the lower far left...but in green.  They are meticulously made (for example, pearls used as lampost lights).  Mine is about 14" tall by 6" wide.  $15

Then I motored off to the corner of Huyana Capac and Simon Bolivar.  The city recently finished this new construction project with 2 levels of parking below ground.  I like the fact they mixed modern with an authentic spanish architecture.  This development will house a lot of artisan shops as well as hold events in the plaza in front.
A military band staying out of the hot sun provided upbeat (though not always in tune) music to the scene.

Click to play the video below.
If you want to watch a larger size, click the lower right corner once the video starts playing.

Paella simmering in a shallow iron dish about 30" wide.

I love creative ideas morphed from waste.   Why not make furniture out of old tires?

Recycled tire coffee table with glass center.  Other uses on display was a 3-tiered water fountain and colorful planters.

A huge (4ft tall) painting of an elderly Indigenous woman.  I've seen that same face (though different people) a hundred times all around the city.
Wood carving

Interesting twist on the proverbial candied apple!!

Back on my moto I zipped over to a place I've never been inside.  Located next door to one of my short term rental apts, I've never seen it open and, lately, it appeared to be in a restoration phase.  Apparently it's a museum related to the University.  This is the first time I've seen it open to the public.  A great addition to the festival scene.

Love the grand columns!!

Made of 1 x 1 glass pieces, the finished size is about 2ft by 2ft.

If you look too fast, you may not realize this is a glass peacock.

This big guy is about 4ft long by 2 feet tall.

Hanging lamp made of cork.

Coffee table top made of cork.

The cushions all made of cork.  Very comfy.

Notice the height of this place by the guy in blue standing at the front gate.

Inner courtyard.

Guitars of all types and sizes are handmade locally.
Click to play the video below.
If you want to watch a larger size, click the lower right corner once the video starts playing.

The river creek Tomebamba.   Yikes...very low.  Normally all those rocks are not seen.

Looking up and down the "river" Tomebamba from various points.

My favorite museum 'CIDAP'.  I want it to be my house.

Crowds gathering for a band readying to perform.  The stairs (about 90 steps) take you from the river up to the El Centro area.
That's it!!  My whirlwind festival sightseeing.   

I jumped back on my moto and dashed home to finish packing and ready for my trip to Spain in the morning.




  1. enjoy your trip....thanks for the pics....see you in March....

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Dano, Muy Hermosa! We're zipping through Quito, spent day in Otavalo Mercado. May head to Mindo tomorrow, then off to Cuenca. We cant wait. Enjoy su viaje (I'm trying), and we'll see you soon!


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Palma, Mallorca, Spain
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Spain, in the city of Palma on the island of Mallorca in the middle of the Mediterranean sea!! I moved from the USA to Cuenca, Ecuador, South America and lived there for 7 years before moving here to Spain in early 2018. To read about my adventures in Ecuador, check out my other blog "Ahhh Cuenca!!". I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live in Europe....across the pond.

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