Ecuador: Cuenca, a great experience from head to toe


The stores in the beautiful historic center of Cuenca are grouped by streets. Some streets are lined with fashion boutiques stores, others have restaurants only, and the third ones are with souvenirs and toys.

When we found ourselves on the street with shoe stores, I decided to look for replacements for my old and falling apart trekking shoes. After checking a couple of stores, I felt lucky. There was this pair of nice, well-known brand-name trekking shoes, exactly the type I was looking for.

When I asked the nice sales lady for size 11 ½ , she looked at me just like I asked her to bring me the moon. Here is the place to mention that in general the Ecuadorians are not too tall, especially the indigenous people. With my 196 cm, I feel like Gulliver.

Realizing that there is no chance to get my size, I made a grim face and headed toward the entrance door. At this time the lady asked me to wait and picked up her phone.

There is hope, I said to myself, maybe they have my size in their warehouse. After several phone calls, the lady finally smiled. A few minutes later a guy run into the store carrying two pairs of shoes – a pair of formal black shoes and pair of sandals.

At this point started explaining that what I need is trekking shoes, not formal shoes or sandals. The lady looked at me and said – these are the only shoes size 11 ½ on the entire street. If you really need shoes, this is your only choice…




Cuenca is beautiful, a beautiful city with its old Spanish architecture and enclosed gardens.

A few blocks from the historical center you’ll start to see the city’s murals. The walls become a canvas for graffiti, street art or whatever you can call it and the city turns into an open museum.

The murals of Cuenca:

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And, as I found out, in Cuenca is the Museo del Sombrero. A Panama hat (toquilla straw hat), is a traditional straw hat, which originates from Ecuador. The art of weaving the traditional Ecuadorian toquilla hat is added to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list. Do you think that I missed the opportunity to buy a genuine Panama hat from the museum?







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