Hola de Cuenca

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Cuenca, Ecuador

The red-tile roofs that permeate Cuenca remind me of Italy. They certainly add to the charm of this old, now burgeoning, city.

Cuenca was founded in 1557 and, amazingly, remained isolated from the rest of the country until the 1960s. Today, Cuenca is a mecca for Americans and Europeans seeking an affordable retirement haven. International Living magazine is high on Cuenca. In fact, the magazine is high on Ecuador naming the country its top retirement location this year.

As fate would have it, John and I sat by a gentleman on the plane ride from Quito to Cuenca who writes for International Living,a periodical we have been reading for a couple of years. The man and his wife moved to Cuenca a few years ago from Roswell, Ga. He and John attended the University of Georgia at the same time. Yep — it’s a small world!
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We’ve rented an apartment on Simon Bolivar (pictured above), one of the main drags through the old city center. It will get the job done during our week here, but I prefer the more spacious, quieter digs we enjoyed in Quito.

As in Quito, there’s seemingly a church on every corner. There are 52 churches in a city of 500,000.
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The main attraction is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. It’s an interesting combo of Romance, Byzantine and Baroque styles.

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Churches aren’t the only beautiful buildings in Cuenca. I was particularly taken with the courthouse.

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In addition to the beautiful man made buildings, the plaza parks feature amazing trees.
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Tonight, the plazas will be full with people celebrating the start of carnival.

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