October 7 – Churches and Hats!

After a fabulous dinner at the Italian restaurant attached to our hotel and a relaxing night in our room, we woke up to the sounds of the city getting ready for a busy day.  We took a walking tour of downtown Cuenca.  There were churches on just about every corner!

In one church, we were able to take a tour and walk up inside the spires to the rooftop, where we had a spectacular view of the city.  The inside of this church was even more spectacular – there was gold everywhere!

Wilson then took us to a hat factory – not THE hat factory, but a nice one nevertheless.  Here we learned about the history of the Panama Hat and how it is made. It was a very informative tour.

After more walking about town, we finally arrived at THE hat factory – Homero Ortega, where the original Panama Hat comes from.  We were able to tour the whole factory from where the raw material comes in, to the dyeing and forming process, and then into the finishing room, and finally the showroom where many famous people have been to purchase their hats. It was a great tour and I just had to have one of these beautiful hats.

Our final stop of the day was up on a hillside overlooking the city of Cuenca.  The view was awesome.  What a fitting way to end our first day in Cuenca.