Quinta Guadalupe

Avenida Loja y Calle Alfonso Borrero

This french style building was designed as a holiday home for Juan Manuel Vintimilla. It was built in the early 20th century, around 1920. The estate was much larger, had crops, and was not considered to be in the city – it was a country home.

Beautiful wrought-iron railings and brick columns surround the property.

A staircase with three flights of steps converging at a landing, provides access to the building.
Inside, the spaces were organized around several courtyards with galleries.

There are several original murals depicting pastoral scenes which can still be admired.

At the beginning of the 1990s the building was sub-divided. A wall divides the property into two separate parts. This photo is from the south side of the property, which is now called Mansion Victoria.

The current owners of Mansion Victoria will be opening a restaurant in this space soon.

Marble benches in the gardens of Mansion Victoria.

There is a beautiful front garden based on ornamental design which has an oval-shaped fountain decorated with ceramic frog-shaped spouts. From Mansion Victoria

Los Molinos del Batan (Le Moulin Restaurante)

Los Molinos del Batan was originally a flour mill operated using the waters of the Tomebamba river to turn the grinding wheels for making wheat and rye into flour. Now operating as Le Moulin Restaurant, the restaurant contains two original flour mills. Beneath the restaurant and connected to the hoppers above in the main dining room are the two wheels that turned the mill by water power.

There is romantic dining available on tabes outside, on the banks of the Tomebamba River.

The original building is believed to be about 400 years old. and has a number of grinding wheels displayed outside.

The restaurant features exposed beams and a high reed ceiling, and wood and brick floors. This post is about the architecture of this beautiful building, which I just love! But P.S. – the food is excellent too!

Look how thick these adobe walls are!!

Very interesting light fixturs….

Lining the walls of the restaurant are photos of Old Cuenca. The beauty of Cuenca is that it doesn’t look all that different today!

The mill grinding wheels, downstairs, under the back of the building.

You can eat in one of the “Caves” with the grinding wheels, for a very unique experience. You will be serenaded by the rushing Tomebamba River.

Such a pretty place to have dinner – either inside the historic building, or outside on the banks of the Tomebamba River.

Los Molinos del Batan                  (Le Moulin Restaurante)
Los Molinos del Batan                  (Le Moulin Restaurante)

Calle Mariano Cueva

This colorful Cuenca street runs from the north on Ave de las Americas, south to Calle Larga. It was named after a Vice President of Ecuador, Mariano Cueva Vallejo.

This mural was painted by the very talented Felipe Urgiles.
You can see the tower of Todos Santos Church on Calle Larga to the right in this photo.

early morning clouds on Calle Mariano Cueva…..

Mariano Cueva Vallejo (August 5, 1810-March 18, 1882) was an Ecuadorian politician and journalist. He was born in Cuenca, the son of Tadeo Cueva Tinoco and Serafina Vallejo Encalada, natives of Loja and Cuenca. In January 1861 he went to Quito as Deputy of Azuay to the National Convention and on March 10 he was elected Vice President of the Republic of Ecuador by 20 votes against 16 of his opponent Pedro José Arteta. He was governor of Azuay and the rector of the University of Cuenca on two occasions, where he remained until his death at the age of 71.

I do not know if this street had any significance in his life, or if it was named after him in his honor.

Mauricio’s Bookstore

I had walked by this building many times but never ventured in. Looking up from the street, the top floor almost looked abandoned to me, but I should have known better. Sr. Mauricio will greet you at the top of the aged staircase, and he will be delighted to help you find any book you might need, in Spanish, English, French, or German.

The fashionable Sr. Mauricio can help you find any book there….

Mauricio’s Used Books. Spanish, English, French, and German. Buy and Sell.

A very old staircase leads to the store.

The bookstore is located on the top floor, at the corner of Luis Cordero and Presidente Cordova.

Seven Churches on Outskirts of Cuenca

It is a tradition in Cuenca to visit seven churches on Good Friday. I have already posted on this blog about many of the better known churches. (Please see the new Table of Contents) We decided to visit seven churches on the outskirts of Cuenca for this Viernes Santo.

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños. I had often driven by and seen the blue domes of this church in Banos, but I had no idea of how large it is!

at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños

at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños

crowds waiting in line to be fed Fanesca, on Good Friday, at Santa Marianita del Arenal.

Iglesia Catolica de San Joaquin

Iglesia Catolica de San Joaquin

Iglesia Santa Marianita de Misicata

Iglesia Santa Marianita de Misicata. I love these beautiful old wooden ceilings.

Iglesia Santa Marianita de Misicata.

Iglesia Santa Marianita de Misicata. I love these beautiful old wooden ceilings.

Iglesia de Senor de la Buena Esperanza de Huizhil

Cemetary at Iglesia de Senor de la Buena Esperanza de Huizhil

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Baños

Iglesia Catolica de El Carmen de Gozho

Iglesia Catolica de El Carmen de Gozho

at Iglesia Catolica San Juan Bosco

Iglesia Catolica San Juan Bosco – this is the old church which they left intact behind the building of the new church.

Casa de Laura

On a hillside outside of Nabon, overlooking the León Valley, is an enchanting place that is beyond fairy tale dreams come true! It is the magical home of Maria Graciela Vintimilla called “China” by her friends. The house is named after her mother Laura. It is about a 90 minute drive from Cuenca.

China is a whimsical folk artist, and her artistry is visible all throughout the property.

The view of the Leon Valley is constantly changing with the colors of the cloud cover. Rainbows are frequent!

China’s Chicken Vegetable Soup is famous, and worth the trip! A party of at least 12 persons is required for a visit, and lunch.

China had a show of her art at the Cuenca Municipal Casa de Lira this past year.


The small village of Quingeo is about a 50 minute drive southeast of Cuenca, and is full of colorful adobe homes. I am from Santa Fe, New Mexico so when I see old adobe homes like this it makes my heart very happy! ❤

Sra. Maria, la esposa de don Guanoquiza

Here you can see the adobe bricks, and the bahareque construction.

Looks like John Lennon made it to Quingeo Ecuador!

I love the satellite dish!

A pony in the park for taking photos

Everyone riding out the rainstorm…

CASA SAN JOSÉ (a restoration in progress)

I was so honored to be invited by the Teodoro Montero family to view their family home which is currently in the process of being renovated; and to attend a lovely event in the home, featuring Teodoro’s book, an autobiography of his life. The home is being renovated by Felipe Urgiles, who is the same person who recently finished the spectacularly beautiful renovation of Casa del Parque in Cuenca.

The house is a work in progress. Some of the renovation is complete, but there is a good amount still to come. I will be following the progress of the renovation.

The lovely event included jazz musicians, flowers, candlelight; and there was a full house attending. When the renovation is complete, the house will be available for special events.

Felipe Urgiles completely restored this beautiful, very large espejo, mirror, to its original design.

Selecting colors for the walls in the grand sala……

All “before” photos are provided by Felipe’s wife, Lore Izquierda.

Felipe, painstakingly restoring the murals.

This is a sketch, superimposed on a photo of the exterior, sketching out how the front of the house will look when completed. There will be murals of angels on the walls.

Felipe with the new color selected for the grand sala walls.

The event was to celebrate the book written by Teodoro Montero. Teodoro moved to Cuenca from Bilbian. He started working as a jeweler, and eventually set up his own business. During the event he described how his business came to be, and grew. He reminisced about a long time business friendship/relationship with a person from Barcelona Spain. His business donated to non-profits for children. He and his family used to bring baskets of food door to door at Christmas.

The title of the book – “Desde el Soplo con la Churumbela al Rayo Laser” is referring to the tools used for jewelry making. The soplo la Churumbela was originally used. The person using it had to blow on the instrument, and it produced quite a lot of smoke, which could be irritating to the users throat. The Rayo Laser – or laser cutting, is now used.

Teodoro Montero, signing copies of his book. The event was full of friends, admirers, and family.

Teodoro’s daughter Sandra, has continued in the tradition, and has a store of her beautiful jewelry in the building. This is a photo of Sandra’s daughter, Andrea, modeling a “peineta” or jewelry hair piece, which Sandra Montero designed.

Felipe Urgiles in front of the renovated mural.

“Before” photo….

an “After” photo…

Cuenca persons will recognize this ceiling in the Turquesa Room, at Mansion Matilde in Casa del Parque, which Felipe designed.

Felipe Urgiles at work. He is an amazing artist, and a treasure for Cuenca.

ITZA Hotel

It’s no secret that I am crazy in love with Cuenca’s gorgeous Spanish Colonial, French, Republic Era, and adobe Architecture. But Cuenca does modern style renovation really well too! This hotel in El Centro just recently opened.

The hotel is at the corner of Gran Colombia and Benigno Malo. It is the old building of the Hotel Internacional designed by the Italian architect Alfonso Durini and built by the masters Ángel and Luis Lupercio between 1927 and 1932, its first owner was the hat exporter Víctor Miguel Delgado. In 1969 it was acquired by Antonio Peña Bernal who made some arrangements and adaptations in the architecture so that his hotel would function under the name of Hotel Internacional. In 1987 the architect Teodoro Peña Cordero carried out important restoration work. Today the current owner, is Mrs. Maritza Yumbla. The splendid current restoration was carried out by the architects Alfredo Ordoñez Castro and Fabián Orellana Serrano, who also directed the restoration of the historic building of the Remigio Crespo Toral Museum; the interior design was carried out by the Portuguese professional Carlos Lopes Silva

The hotel has three floors and fifteen rooms.

The Za-Za Lounge on the top floor has amazing 360 degree views of historical El Centro Cuenca.

There are amazing views in every direction.

Restaurant on the main floor…..