This morning we explored the new part of the city. We walked down the hill to an area called el mariscal. It’s a touristy zone with hotels, shopping, and eateries. The whole point for me was to find a decent cup of coffee and a breakfast that wasn’t eggs. I like eggs as much as the next person, but I don’t understand how Latin Americans can eat eggs every single day. And don’t even get me started on the coffee! Every place serves Nescafe, seriously? We’re in a place where quality coffee grows all over, why must they subject everyone to instant coffee? Anyways, we had a nice walk through the tourist zone and found a coffee shop that serves breakfast. Unfortunately they just had different versions of eggs, but the coffee was good.
After breakfast we walked down the ciclovia (apparently it’s popular in South America to close off streets on Sundays for bicycles only) and we ended up at a large city park. I had heard that this park had a market on Sundays and thought it might be fun to look around. I was also hoping that there might be a playground for kids. If you’ve ever been to Latin America you might be familiar with they’re version of playgrounds. They are generally pretty abysmal. Usually its just an old metal slide, a couple of swings, and a see saw.
However, this park was fantastic! It was a large urban park with plenty of shade, there were marked pedestrian and biking trails, loads of crafty market stalls, and best of all there were loads of playgrounds. There were all kinds of play areas, with big slides, little ones, zip lines, climbing areas. This was definitely the best park I’ve been to in Latin America. We all had a great time. We got to rent a car for Judah to drive around for 30 minutes ($2.50). Joaquin and I wandered around the market stalls and enjoyed some orange water. I almost bought a cute miniature chess set that was Spaniards vs. Indigenous. If I see it again I’ll take a picture. Then Judah saw a cotton candy vendor and went into meltdown mode when we wouldn’t buy him any, so we decided to make our way back and take a nap.
After nap time we caught the bus to the historic centre. We got off the bus right as it started to rain. So we wandered through the market on our way to the Plaza. We found an empanada place that was literally a hole in the wall under the church. We all enjoyed the cheese empanadas while we waited for the rain to slow down.
There aren’t a lot of ice cream places that I’ve seen. But if you go down this one street about 5 blocks north of the plaza, just about everyone has an ice cream cone in their hand. Even the people driving are eating them and it’s always the same kind- red and white soft serve in a cone. I was reading my guide book last night and the ice cream place was in there. It said that this homemade ice cream place has been around for over a hundred years. So obviously, after dinner we had to check it out. It was pretty good, I’m sure we’ll be back.