Thursday, January 29, 2015

An addition to our apartment!

Everyone knows how we love the views from our apartment, I mean the photos we share say it all. (Have you ever peeked at our SmugMug album, just for the views?) The light and views are a big part of this apartment and we hated to obscur that with curtains, even sheers.

When we moved in, we bought a room-darkening roman shade for the master bedroom from the former tenant. It has worked out well since the morning sun, especially in summer (NOW), a 6:30 sunrise can be a bit bright.

Well, we got a visit from the gal renting on the third floor, same apartment layout as ours. She is heading back to the states and wondered if we would be interested in buying her window coverings.

Although we still weren't sure we wanted anything, the bright afternoon sun was drivin us away from our desks every day. So we went down to her place to look. As soon as we saw them, we were sold!

When pulled up, you can't even tell there are window covers, other than the beaded drawstings. When you pull them down...that's where the magic begins. They work like roman shades but they have alternating panels of light and dark. Thus you can let some partial light in or not. Hard to explain and harder to show in photos but we LOVE THEM!

There is a smaller blind for each of the windows that open and a wider one for the rest of the window. Now the all the rooms except the kitchen have blinds AND a view!






Saturday, January 24, 2015

MORE rain, NEW friends, WALK along the river.

We've been busy this past week and it looks like more of the same next week. We have enjoyed meeting several new couples, some closer to making a decision on whether & where to move, some a few years out but on the same exploratory trip.

We've continue doing a lot of walking, at least for us. We aren't up to the 10k steps a day mark but doing way more than we did during our RV ife in the US. It feels good and having such a great city to walk in as well as several beautiful rivers to walk along, definitely helps.

So here's a synopsis of our week. We started out by meeting up with new friends, Heidi and Steve (Risa and Jerry on Facebook). We had lunch at Don Colon's and really enjoyed our time with them. They were supposed to meet other expat friends, Stephen and Nancy, at Tutto Fredo at two. Well, a few minutes after, Nancy and Steve show up at Don Colon. They knew where to find them. Great folks, still probably a year or two away from making any major changes.

We took off walking, made a bank deposit, walked some more, and I just had to snap this shot - gorgeous sunny day.


Then we decided to stop for ice cream... Ice cream (helado) is very popular here but we haven't indulged very often. We recently found La Fornace and tried the ice cream there. Our favorite is Malaga or Rum Raisin. It's sort of like butter pecan with sweet raisins in place of the pecans.

Oh, did I mention that it cost $1 each (cone or cup)?
We continued walking, deciding we needed a cup of coffee, we stopped at a little cafe we had passed before (the coffee smell was delicious) but never tried. Well, the coffee was wonderful, the price good at $1 (as most places are) and it was a good spot to wait out the torrential rain that arrived.

 

We were close to our bus stop and as we waited we noticed this adorable little firefighter costume in the shop across the street. Sorry the pic is so blurry!


Two days later we met up with another couple who were from Colorado Springs, John and Chris. We met at Fabiano's and spent more then five hours chatting, then made plans to meet at Popacuchu next week. Wonderful couple who have spent the last two+ months visiting the coast - we even discovered some mutual friends. They visited our apartment the next morning and we chatted for two hours...needless to say, we really hope they choose Cuenca when they make the final move. Of course, so do all the folks on the coast that they've met. LOL!


After they left, went for a walk up Ordoñez Lazo. We walked up to a local coffee shop that we had heard about, Coffee Brown. We will be back for sure. The food was DELICIOUS and the coffee was good. I had a turkey with passionfruit sandwich (the bread was amazing, not at all dry) and Stu had a chicken salad pita sandwich. While we were there, our visa facilitator, Maite Duran, dropped in and joined us. We had a wonderful chat. Oh, almost forgot to take the food photos. We will be back....


Headed back home, we opted for a walk along the river. It was a nice, sunny day and I grabbed a few shots of the turbulant water, churning from all the recent rains.


Remember we mentioned how big the trees are along the rivers?

I even shot a video of the lady washing her clothes as well as one of the rushing river. Hope these links work, just click the photo and you should be taken to our SmugMug gallery to see the videos. The clothes washing is the first one, the river is the second.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Ahhh, the grand adventure continues. Life is good!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dinner, Friends and MUSIC!

We have made many new friends here including Ricardo and Roger who own and run Paladar's Restaurante here in Cuenca. We'd only been there once but enjoyed it so much we wanted to do it again.

When we saw an announcement about Bobcat Jack performing at Paladar's on January 16th and we immediately sent in our reservations. We found a couple of good friends who were interested as well and they joined us.

Well, did we ever get more than we bargained for! The food was wonderful - this was the menu for the 3-course meal.
Starter: Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing
Main Course: Pork Tenderloin medallions topped with pear chutney served with cheesy smashed potatoes and seasoned roasted vegetable medley
Dessert: Carrot-pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting
Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds! Because the house was overbooked (sellout+), the time between courses was a little slow but the conversation at our table more than made up for that.

We meandered downstairs to the garden area for the show. We thought we were just seeing Bobcat Jack but oh no, we had TWO performers. The second was Geoffrey Castle. They opened with a great Southern Rock number that had feet tapping and heads bobbing and the show never slowed down.





We enjoyed hearing the blues from both performers but were blown away by the music Geoffrey was playing on his electric violin, a 6 string violin! What an unbelievable talent, no matter the music genre. We chatted with him during the break and really enjoyed the talk. Oh, and I've already bought four albums online!


Here's what the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has to say about"Mist on the Mountain":
On his solo album, the Seattle violinist offers an eleven-track collection of stunning originals showcasing his pioneering talent on six-string electric violin. Tapping ancient Celtic melodies and modern pop, rock, and jazz, Castle has created a pure, uncluttered masterpiece. Among the gems is the ethereal "Underhill's Waltz," and a remarkable version of Miles Davis' "All Blues."

—Gene Stout, Seattle P-I

From his website: "Geoffrey Castle combines old school R&B, funk, jazz, blues, and gospel with traditional Celtic melodies. These seven songs feature performances by Alan White (drummer for John Lennon, Yes), Ben Smith (drummer for Heart), Garey Shelton (Grammy-winning bass player) and Eric Robert (the keyboardist featured on Underhill's Angel)."
All in all, a wonderful evening that we hope to repeat soon. And we hope you will take time to listen to some of the tracks on Geoffrey's albums. Some are very different from others but all display his amazing talent. Check out music samples, then get a copy for yourself (and maybe a few for some friends!) as digital downloads or on CD!

PS. You can see all the photos in our SmugMug album.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Every day is a parade....

Well, maybe not, but here in Cuenca we run into parades often enough that it feels that way. Yesterday was a nice day for heading into El Centro for a walk. I needed to meet up with our tagua man to see if the turtles I ordered for my sister-in-law were ready to pick up.

We headed in after lunch, took a leisurely walk to the artisan shop (Casa de la Mujer) but the tagua man was closed. Assuming he was out to lunch, we headed to Don Colon's for a cup of coffee.

The sun was shining, it was busy everywhere, vendors everywhere selling everything from the usual wares to shoe laces to these cute little hats we saw on toddlers (and of course I could never catch a shot of them). Aliens? Bugs? Not sure... The flower market was full of people enjoying the sun on a crisp day.










While at Don Colon's we were joined by several friends, we sat for over an hour chatting, enjoying our coffee and watching the sights.






After that we headed back to see if the tagua man was back or if he was done for the day. We ran into these adorable little ones there...






From there we headed towards our final destination of the day, dinner at Fabiano's Pizzeria. But before we got too far, we noticed the motorcycle police blocking off intersections and directing traffic. We soon discovered why - a parade!




















One thing about living here, you never know when you will run into a parade...and you always know when the parade is over!


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