As we leave Cuenca our guide Paul explains that we will be taking the Pan-American highway north toward our first stop in Biblian.
As we approach Biblian the sky is starting to clear in patches and we are able to see a large church on a hill in the distance. The driver was soon taking the road up to Biblián's Santuario de la Virgen del Rocío. The church is built into the side of a steep rock cliff above the town, and has many staircases to reach from the parking lot up to the church. Along the staircase (and under the church) we find the crypts containing the deceased from the town. The inside of the church is pretty, with some stained glass, however the most interesting part is the exposed rock from the cliff which forms the backdrop to the alter. The views from the church terraces of the surrounding countryside are beautiful.
The town center is swarming with cars and people.
The indigenous people from the region are dressed
in their traditional clothing, which makes the market
ven more fun. We walk past the stalls selling goods
such as clothing, wooden cooking utensils, various
tools and bakery. Our guide Paul then points us toward
the mercado. We see some of the same fruits and
vegetables we find in the mercado in Cuenca. Then
we walk past the food stalls where they are selling
freshly roasted pig on a spit. William just has to try
some of the crisply roasted pig skin. He declares it
to be delicious.
Unfortunately the weather turns colder and more and more rainy as we walked through the ruins. At the end of the hour we are all cold and wet, despite having rain gear. Luckily our lunch spot is walking distance from the ruins and we started off with a warmed shot of the local canelazo, which is made from sugar cane liquor. Mmmmm, that's better.
With our tummies full and warmed a bit the 90 minute drive back to Cuenca provides an opportunity for more than a few of us to catch a short nap. All agree it is a worthwhile day.