We were in Cuenca, a pretty little city, high in the Andes Mountains of central Ecuador, enjoying the town square. It had a European feel with cobblestone streets, Spanish colonial architecture and lots of brick.
Cuenca Town Square
Take note of the hats…
Sipping some hot chocolate…
Dozen Roses = $6
And then, there was a flower market. I was hoping we had found something I had read about – a dozen roses for $6!
Contrary to a romantic nature, some of us do not like red roses, even if they do photograph well.
T did find a lovely pale pink bouquet though.
Family Life in Ecuador
The family is very important in Ecuador and we saw it here in Cuenca too, with a man and his two little girls…
We loved our elegant historic hotel in Cuenca…
Panama Hats are Not Made in Panama
Then we heard about the Panama Hat factory. “But aren’t Panama Hats made in Panama?”, we asked.
We soon discovered that Panama Hats are made in Ecuador, and always have been!
They also come in dozens of colours and shapes…
And did you know that there are Women’s Panama Hats?
How Panama Hats are Made
A young woman gave us a tour of the factory…
A unique type of palm leaf used to weave Panama Hats…
Famous People Wore Panama Hats
They started making Panama Hats in the 16th century and it was only two centuries later, in 1855, that they showcased in Paris, and in the 1920s Panama Hats became the elite accessory to wear for both men and women. Ecuador then began to ship them to Panama and other ports around South America.
You’ve surely seen famous men such as Sean Connery, Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, Jacky Onassis, Judy Dench, Lady Di, Gary Cooper, Anthony Hopkins, Clark Gable, Gregory Peck wearing them, in photos or old movies. Even European royalty wore them, and they are just recently becoming fashionable again.
It Takes 2 Months to Make a Panama Hat
Depending on the fineness of the weave, a Panama Hat can take up to two months to weave. The prices range from $100 to $1000.
Processing Panama Hats…
Molding and shaping…
Women at the factory make the finishing touches to the hats:
Every Panama Hat is Unique
If you buy a Panama hat you will know that no one else has in the world has the same hat because each woven Panama Hat is completed in different patterns from 1 of the 3,000 weavers from Cuenca!
T bought a black Panama Hat, I bought a Panama Purse, and we bought a brown one for our driver, Mauricio!
Originally posted 2013-08-19 13:02:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter