Parque Paraiso (Paradise Park), even though it's not in the middle of the city, is Cuenca's Central Park. It's a short 10 minute walk from our home and we've been wanting to visit there for some time, but the persistently gloomy weather we've been experiencing kept interfering with our plans.
Yesterday was beautiful and sunny so off we went for a stroll. We figured there would probably be a lot of people there and we were correct.
On the edge of the park vendors had food items galore
(No, this isn't ice cream. It's some kind of creamy stuff, but I've never had the nerve to try it.)
and of course there's always the "food court."
Even though the park was jam packed with thousands of locals
it didn't seem so crowded because of the sheer vastness and beauty of the area.
Families were gathered everywhere,
kids were all over the playground equipment (solid metal--remember those days?),
and maneuvering paddleboats.
Dogs of every size and variety enjoyed the outdoors,
and sweethearts were tucked into nooks and crannies.
Cuencanos love their three man volleyball
and of course their futbol.
Security is ever-present but hardly seems necessary.
At the end of Paradise Park, where the Tomebamba and Yununcay Rivers converge, is a deep forest you can wander through either on a path or an elevated walkway.
The spot where the rivers come together is one of my favorites in all of Cuenca.
It's so peaceful being among towering eucalyptus trees
and catching glimpses of the rushing river.
Being out in amazing nature and feeling the happy energy of so many people just enjoying life was quite uplifting. Our spirits were high as we began our walk home.