October 26, 2012 - From Baņos I rode along the eastern route down Ecuador, thereby staying off the Pan American highway. The latter is a much better road and quite fast but it passes by a lot of nicer areas.
The eastern route takes you down along the outskirts of the Amazon rainforest, although I failed to spot any Anacondas on the way. From the E45 I took the E40, which is a brand new road snaking together a number of towns and villages. Close to Cuenca, you get deposited on the Pan American again. For those who like an unending amount of twisties on a new concrete road, this is definitely the way to go.
In Cuenca, I ended up in a hotel that was probably of stature back in the 50's or 60's. Although grand in design, it had wilted over the years to become a caricature of itself, with staff dressed in museum quality outfits with an attitude to match.
Cuenca is reputed to be one of the nicest cities in Ecuador.
The downtown core has a number of worthwhile sights for sure, but personally I didn't understand the fuss about the place. I visited a few of the museums, including the reputed central bank museum with its mock displays of Ecuadorian life. The most interesting items where the shrunken heads, created by the natives.
The churches were quite elaborate inside.
All in all Cuenca wasn't my place and after a day of thoroughly crisscrossing the place on foot I decided to press on.