Tag Archives: cuenca

Ecuador Part 4: Getting Lost on the Avenue of Volcanoes

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Kinda hard to miss

Kinda hard to miss

How do you get lost when a volcano is your navigating landmark?  Apparently, it is not as difficult as one would think.

We are big believers in seeing a country by driving a car on your own (or taking a train).  There are so many things missed when flying over, or being escorted by a tour.  We also bow down at the alter of the GPS (Costa Rica: No Signs Allowed).  However, due to my limited Spanish (yes, the GPS was all in Espanol!), the sparce map programming for Ecuador, or just (I fear) my mental capacities – the GPS rented from the car rental company in Cuenca, Ecuador was not as much help to us as expected.

Truth be told, we saw much more of the country than originally planned (much, much more)on our drive along Avenue of the Volcanoes from Cuenca to Banos to Quito.  Lucky for us, there were only a few roads that take you through those mountains (and we found them all), or we would probably still be searching for a way out…

We did manage to locate the Ingaperca Inca Ruins between Cuenca and Banos:

Ingaperca Inca Ruins

And see some colorful things along the way:

No billboards needed when there is the side of a house to paint.

Who needs billboards when there is the side of a house to paint.

We kept driving when it was raining:

I think we do this way...

I think we go this way…

And took random breaks when it wasn’t.

Anyone for a game of hoops?

Anyone for a game of hoops?

Sometimes we drove by the view,

No shortage of cows in Ecuador.

No shortage of cows in Ecuador.

And sometimes, we got out of the car to take in the view:

We will get there someday.

I think it is too far to jump.

And sometimes, we just followed the truck in front of us:

Goin' my way?

Goin’ my way?

Driving though the rural and mountainous parts of Ecuador, we came away with two impressions: Ecuador is a vastly beautiful country, and those volcanoes may be big, but they do not a navigational tool make.

In the end, we made it to all of our planned destinations…and a few unplanned ones as well.

All in a days travel…

The best days that is.

For other articles on Ecuador:

Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

Ecuador Part 2:  Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

Ecuador Part 3:  Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

For More Sweet Spot Travels: GO HERE

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Ecuador Part 2: Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

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Cuenca, EcuadorDid I mention I absolutely loved Cuenca, Ecuador? Of all the cities traveled to, Cuenca would rate right up there with the best.  It is beautiful in the way it is historically preserved, clean and colorful.  The people are relaxed and engaging. The weather, perfect! But,  I have to say, my favorite aspect of Cuenca was rounding a corner, or climbing some steps and randomly seeing things like this:

Can someone just paint me into this mural?

Can someone just paint me into this mural?

Or this:

Cuenca, Ecuador

Even just the everyday life of the city was filled with colors.

How do I get these home on the plane?

The Flower Market: How do I get these home on the plane?

Cuenca, Ecuador

Outside Municipality Church.

Cuenca, Ecuador

Rooftops of Cuenca in repair – feels like home.

 

 

 

Cuenca, Ecuador

Parque Calderon: The place to chill.

Parque Calderon: The place to chill.

I am sure Teen would say his best moments in Cuenca happened when he was mobbed by a group of school girls  wanting to take photos with him.  This went on until the teacher chaperone shooed them on to their destination.

Yeah, he was happy to oblige...

Yeah, he was all too happy to oblige…

And I am sure my husbands best moment was meeting the Shaman women in the meat market doing “cleansings” on children and then (through his perfect Spanish which can be a blessing, or in this case, a curse) discovering that they do cleansings on adults as well.  He was way too happy to sign me up- as I clearly needed the most cleansing!

Apparently, the ritual process included being smothered and beat with herbs, getting spit on, and a bottle of “magic juice” to-go (re-used plastic bottle filled with a strange pinkish liquid that smelled like dirt) .  The little Ecuadorian kids did not seem to mind…

All cleansed and good to go!

All cleansed and good to go!

But, I think my cleansing was a little more involved:

What did I ever do to deserve this...

What did I ever do to deserve this…

I can't breath...no, I really couldn't breath.

I can’t breath…no, really, I can’t breath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the cleansing wasn’t over until the Shaman Lady spit:

Yep, that just happened...

Yep, that just happened… (thank you, Teen, for capturing this precious moment)

Teen2’s best moment was NOT necessarily eating Cuy (that’s Guinea Pig for you English speaking folks).  He objected to the bits of fur still attached, the general lack of any meat, and having to look at an animals teeth on his plate:

Tastes like chicken...

Tastes like chicken…

Tastes like chicken.

My cute friend whose Mom whipped up these delicious pets for us…

I would go back to Cuenca again – mobbing, spitting and all – in a heartbeat.  As for the Cuy?  Well, been there done that.

Oh, and if you are wondering if my cleansing worked – all I can say is, I have not been sick yet this winter, even with the pestilence ranging all around me and I can suddenly leap tall buildings in a single bound (ok, not really on that last part, but I do feel pretty good…so who knows)!

Cuenca, Ecuador

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow”

Next stop Banos!

For more posts on Ecuador:

Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

Ecuador Part 3: Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

For more Sweet Spot Travels:  Go Here