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Friday, November 3, 2017

Craft Vendors come to Cuenca for our Independence Celebration

Dear Family and Friends,

Every November 3rd, Cuenca celebrates it's independence from Spain.  This year they are celebrating the 197th year of independence. This is a national holiday in Ecuador.

This is a big deal in Cuenca. The celebration lasts for about a week with the heavy duty celebrating lasting for 5 days.  There are concerts, performances of all types, fireworks, and craft vendors who come to Cuenca from all over South America and even the world.

Chuck and I went to check out some of the craft vendors yesterday.  It would be nice to have a million dollars in your pocket because there are so many things that are so unique.  We bought a couple of items but then our pockets were empty.  I will share some of the crafts and the people we saw with you in this post.  

This beautiful lady is from the jungle in Colombia.



I met this U.S. looking Indian in the park.  He said he was from Mexico.  



Retro dressed kids handing out brochures for another event.  Love the guys' suits and shoes.



Cuenca brought in artists from Indonesia.  Here is one of the ladies in costume.



A flock of sheep in roped wool.  Cute idea.



These knitted hats were so colorful.  



A carved wood unique nativity scene.  I'm not sure if the kitty is supposed to be in the scene, but I like it.



Some colorful carved Madonnas with child.



A wooden box with a scene.  The scene seems to be a tavern.  This vendor was from Peru.



He was also selling colorful vases.  Boy, we really liked it and considered buying one of them but then we asked the price.  



Some vendors from Japan teaching local children how to do origami.



Here is some beautifully crafted jewelry from Argentina.



Also, from Argentina, was a vendor who makes moveable wooden toys.



An Ecuadorian lady was selling masks she makes from paper and paint.  



Another vendor was also selling masks from paper.  These masks were two sided.  Very artistic.




And of course, it wouldn't be a craft fair in Cuenca without Panama Hats.



There were plenty of street artists hoping to make some money too.



Another lovely lady from the jungle in Ecuador.



A booth selling Ecuadorian chocolate had a plate of cocoa beans on display.



Some religious art.



I'm not sure about these two, but they sure were handsome.



Below are some puppets from Indonesia.



Some food vendors had made a Nordic ship out of watermelon, grapefruit and large shrimp.



This was my favorite item.  It is a large peacock made out of anodized copper.  It would look so beautiful in our garden, but once again when we asked the price...$6,000, we decided we our garden is happy like it is.



Some handmade musical instruments.



This sampling of what we saw is only about 1/1000th of what is available.  

We could not see it all, the vendors are in various locations all over the city.  We were in just one of those locations.

We have missed this event for the last three years due to traveling.  I am so happy we are here this year.

Love,
Nancy

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Our last day in Wales

Dear Family and Friends,

Our last day in Wales looked pretty much like this picture.  It was rainy, windy and sometimes even foggy.  We went on our third tour with WhereWhenWales.com  I keep adding a link because they are the top day tour company out of Cardiff and they do an excellent job.



I am adding this photo because we saw more than one butcher shop that provided fresh game.  Also, it appears that rabbits and hares are not the same according to their sign.



Yes, it is an Amazon warehouse off the freeway.  We never saw one Walmart.



Our tour took us south of Cardiff to Swansea.  Swansea is on the coast of Wales and is the second largest city in Wales.

In Swansea, we went to the National Waterfront Museum.  Great rainy day activity.

Below is a very early bicycle built for two.



This car was designed and built by Rolls Royce.  Maybe the first one.



In the gift shop I eyed this chocolate bar.  It says NOMNOM Proper Welsh Chocolate.  Well I know they are right because the chocolate is from Ecuador.  To me, the best chocolate is Ecuador chocolate.



As I pointed out in an earlier post, you still find memorabilia from WWII in the gift shops.

This is a reproduction of a poster encouraging people to knit clothing for the Royal Air Force.  I really took this picture to share with my friend, Karen Kimbler, but I decided to share it with you as well.



Reminds me of the Uncle Sam poster the USA used during WWII.



After our stop at the museum, we drove to Gower Peninsula.  We stopped at Langland Bay and Caswell Bay.

Despite the rain, wind and cool weather there were people out surfing.  Of course they were wearing wet suits.  



Here is Chuck reading about the Caswell Bay area.


Nice views in spite of the weather.


We then went to Rhossili Bay.  Rhossili Bay is known for a dramatic stone causeway that looks like a huge whale to me.  It is called Worms Head.

If you look at the picture below you can see the whale shape.



Lucky for me, as we were at the bistro in the Wormshead Hotel, it started raining again.  This made perfect conditions for photographing these folks out on the bluff. 



We really enjoyed our tour in spite of the weather.

Our whole British Isles vacation was awesome.  

We are staying home in Ecuador through the Christmas holidays.  In January we head to Tucson to visit family.

It looks like I will need to add a photo or two of Ecuador between now and then.

Love,
Nancy

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wye Valley Tour in Wales

Dear Family and Friends,

On our second day tour with Wherewhenwales.com we went to the Wye Valley.

I will start this post with my favorite site on this tour.  Tintern Abbey is about 500 hundred years old.  It is partially destroyed.  As it turns out, for me, this makes it much more spiritual.

As you can see in the picture below there is no floor, window glass or roof.  The abbey was damaged during the English civil war.





This is the abbey from outside.


Inside, the daylight streams in, making it grandeur. 



I couldn't stop taking pictures.



I felt so in touch with my spiritual self.








We stopped in Beacon village for lunch.


I saw this sign in a pharmacy window.  It reminded me that although I speak English, I do not speak the "King's English."


We both ordered another wonderful meat pie.  


The back roads in the Wye Valley are absolutely beautiful.






We stopped in the town of Monmouth for independent sightseeing and shopping. 



Monmouth's claim to fame is this medieval gated bridge, the only surviving one in Great Britain.



My new favorite.  I have seen this beer in New Zealand and other countries on this trip, but I had not tried one until this day.  It is so delicious.  If you love ginger then try one if you ever have the opportunity.



Outside we saw this sign.  Yuk, I said....



Well, Chuck went for it.  This, my friend, is a Bacon Bap. 



One more day left.

Will share our last day in Wales in the next post.

Love,
Nancy