I’ve been in a lot of cities in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, where I avoid sitting in parks because I just don’t feel comfortable. I don’t like being approached by vendors, beggars, charities, missionaries or shoeshiners. When I sit in a park, I really just want to relax and watch all the people. For a city the size of Cuenca, Parque Calderon, in the heart of the city, is pretty low-key. And despite the fact that I have been approached by shoeshiners, missionaries, and local students who have been required to interview English-speakers for their homework, none of these people have been overly aggressive. (In fact, being a teacher I enjoy doing some reverse questioning on the teenagers who are trying to interview me). So I have come to really enjoy wandering through the park – especially on Saturdays, when there is often a band in the gazebo, photographers out taking pictures of kids with toys or a friendly St. Bernard, and a lady that sells these little cream-puffs for 10 cents each. The vegetation is always beautiful, and when the sun shines, the cathedral is gorgeous. Unlike parks I’ve visited in many other cities, I never see graffiti – I don’t know whether that’s because they are always repainting the benches, or because people are really proud of this place. I don’t really see evidence of frequent repainting. Overall, this is a really easy place to hang-out for awhile and eat an ice cream – or a cream puff.