We arrived in Cuenca at 7am and got a taxi straight to the hostel. We used our Spanglish skills to order a really good breakfast after which we headed out. Unfortunately for us we soon found out that it was their labour day holidays (2days) so nothing was open. It was particularly annoying as we'd hoped to do a Spanish course, but couldn't afford to wait around for 2days before we could even start!! So we had a wonder around town, as the historic buildings in Cuenca are really pretty. We also saw their Inca ruins, although we only saw them from a far and couldn't explore them properly as of course it was closed! We then took a walk along the river before stopping for a late lunch and a beer! The town is really nice, but it was so cold and wet we just had to head back to the hostel for beer and cards! The problem was that for some unknown reason the hostel was very open, it was as though they thought they were located at some beach resort, and not 2530 metres up in the Andes! The hostel was freezing!
The next day the sun was out for a bit and we got to appreciate the town a little bit more. The cathedral was really impressive, inside and out. Particularly the very lifelike statue of the pope! It was like a Madame Tusssauds for Churches. We wondered around the numerous other churches and historic buildings dotted around town. There were a lot of shops selling knock offs for what would be the full retail price of the authentic item! We even saw a lady writing with a felt tip 'vans' on the trainers! When we were walking back we saw an old lady chewing bone marrow which was just disgusting!
Feeling that we had walked around everything we decided to watch the football in a bar - true Brits abroad! We went back to the same bar later for dinner.
That night we got the night bus at 9pm to Mancora in Peru. The border crossing couldn't have been easier, although the timing could have been better! We were woken up at 1.30am at the Ecuadorian border and had to get off the bus to have our passport stamped. We then got back on the bus travelled through a horrible looking Peruvian town, and then stopped again for our Peruvian visa. The border control police did some spot checking, and checked the baggage of one family, but it did look like the contents of their entire house, including a gas cooker!!
Onward into Peru!