Cuenca, Ecuador

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Cuenca, Ecuador

Postby shivers » Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:07 am

I had originally planned to fly from Guayaquil to Cuenca. For some reason I didn’t fully understand, the afternoon flights were canceled. Rather than wait until the next morning, I hired a car to take me there. Despite the road conditions, it was the better choice. The mountain scenery is spectacular, and I’d have missed it on the plane. The people-watching (another of my favorite activities) along the road is good too. The Chevrolet bounced up the pothole-covered road to Cuenca in about 5 hours. My back is still recovering.

My trip to Ecuador thus far had been great fun. realrescue’s familia is kind and hospitable. The BFCers I met are cool to hang with. I’d spent more time socializing than sight-seeing. As wonderful as my time was in Manta, I looked forward to venturing off on my own.

So, off to Cuenca. I stayed in the old part of town. At $40 per night, the beautiful Hotel Crespo was a bargain. It overlooks Río Tomebamba and parque. The wooden interior is exquisite. There, I met businessman from Guayaquil who informed me that there was a shorter road to Cuenca, which is also in better condition and goes through a national park. Oh well.

It’s a quiet town at night, but I did find places to hang. I ended up at one lively bar the night before my departure, Wunderbar, where I chatted with a handsome local. I wish I had the energy to go dancing with him, but I’d had a long day of shopping, and a morning flight home.

I love to shop when I travel. Even in this huge city I live in, there are things you can’t get (at least not without much searching and enormous amounts of money): local arts and crafts from places like Cuenca. I came home with a large carton full of woolen goods, wood sculptures and other goodies. Cuencano art is worth your while. You’ll find some antique indigenous pieces, pre-Colombian era and later in several shops. Apparently, the Ecuadorian government is ok with some amount of lesser works leaving the country and into private collections. A visit to the indigenous art museum on Calle Larga shows you some of the better stuff, though I’m sure with the right connections, you could get your hands on works just as good for your private collection.

Not exactly adventure travelling, but rewarding for me. With a likely invitation from realrescue to BFCers in the future, I expect I’ll return to Ecuador. I hope to see more of the country then.
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Postby Kurt » Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:34 am

Cuenca is a nice place. I enjoyed it very much there. I know the road you are talking about on the way there too....It is incredible.

Go hang out at the Eucallyptus and see the picture of both Che and Ronald Reagan. (they cover their bases)..The blond Canadian girl that works there ran away to Haiti when she was sixteen and is pretty interesting.
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Postby shivers » Wed Oct 27, 2004 2:49 am

I don't usually bother taking photographs of common tourist sites, as there are plenty of picture postcards taken by a more talented photographer than I. Here are a few shots I took while in Cuenca.

The view from my hotel room:
Image

Puente y Escalita:
Image

I could think of worse places to dry your socks:
Image

Cool door!
Image

I would love to hire this guy if I ever build my own house. Awesome ceramic mural:
Image
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Postby ReptilianKittenEater » Wed Oct 27, 2004 3:08 am

Got to love those Ecuadorian souvenirs. i loaded up when I was there, one of the best places is Parque Edijio in downtown Quito on weekends. Good to fill up there if you're finished your travels and have a few bucks to use up before the flight out. Another good place for souvenirs is Otavalo but you'll be sharing the avenidas there with every other tourist in South America.

Any more travels? Banos is touristy but a nice place to hit. Good for biking.
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Postby shivers » Wed Oct 27, 2004 3:29 am

I was only there for one week. Guayquil, Manta, and Cuenca. Mrs RR3's aunt was gracious enough to take RR3's mom and me on a quick trip to Montecristi, 5 minutes away from Manta. (It's the place to buy panama hats.) Much of my time was spent partying. Pritchard and his friend had been there for a week or so prior, and continued to the Amazon forest afterward. I'm sure he'll have more interesting stories to share than I.

Thanks again to realrescue3 and family for your hospitality. Mrs realrescue3 is a great lady, the kids are darling. It was a hectic time for them, and rr's tummy bug didn't help. Nevertheless, we had a great time.
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Postby Stiv » Wed Oct 27, 2004 10:06 am

Cool Shivers thanks for that. Sounds like it was laid back and an enjoyable time. Sounds like you'd be fun to pal around with also. I loath to shop at home but on the road is another deal altogether, then the haggle face goes on.

Best,
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Postby Kurt » Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:15 pm

I love my Sweater that I got in Cuenca.

I am a bit of a weirdo..I sleep with an open window in the winter and wear a sweater and a hat at night. Sometimes..I am not crazy.

But the Panama hat I bought (I bought a bunch in those balsa wood boxes for gifts) puts ten years on my face. Luckily I will still look cool at age 46 but I am in no rush to look ten years older.
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Postby Kurt » Wed Oct 27, 2004 2:09 pm

I got two hammocks. But in Quito.

One I still got draped in my closet and the other was given to friends of mine in Queens who actually have a porch.
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Postby svizzerams » Wed Oct 27, 2004 2:54 pm

Ecuador is such a little gem! I loved living in Cuenca - thanks Shivers for the fotos brought back wonderful memories. I did a lot of walking along the RioBomba River and was always amazed by people doing thier laundry and seeing the farm animals tethered along any patch of green around the fringes of the city. Did you ever see people fishing with nets for trout?


My favorite hang outs were the Eucalyptus and the Mozart Cafe - could get real coffee there, although I did acquire a taste for cafe con leche (cup of hot milk with instant coffee but I didn't inundate it with sugar the way most South Americans do which raised eyebrows - I still drink it here, but the American instant coffee tastes different - but finally stumbled on a brand from Mexico that gives that familiar and nostalgia ridden taste)...but I digress.

And the food....all those strange and delicious fruits and fresh made juices.

Also discovered where all the Sacajewea dollar coins went and all the dead and dying American paper money - Ecuador!!!!
Joan of Arc went to battle with nothing
but the voices in her head
and a well-sharpened sword ~ Charlotte

...those without swords can still die upon them...

Illegitami non carborundum est
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Postby rickshaw92 » Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:23 pm

I will be there in a couple of weeks. Any good Italian resturants?
Im reallly fuclimg pissed but fespite that I can still hit a tarfet at 1000m plus. mayVRVe bnot tonight but it qint beyond the wit if man. Nowhammy.
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Postby ReptilianKittenEater » Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:28 am

Kurt, you're kinda like me, nthun better than sleeping in a freezing room with the windows wide open in the winter (although I live in the banana belt of Canada), maybe from sleeping in tents and teahouses in freezing weather.

rickshaw there is a good Italian restaurant in Quito a couple of blocks south on Amazonas from the gringo hangouts I think. good pizza and pasta and big portions, had enough carbs to get me up Ilinia Norte the next day.
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Postby rickshaw92 » Thu Oct 28, 2004 9:44 pm

Cheers Rep
Im reallly fuclimg pissed but fespite that I can still hit a tarfet at 1000m plus. mayVRVe bnot tonight but it qint beyond the wit if man. Nowhammy.
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Trip

Postby cbychoice » Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:05 am

Thanks Shivers for posting about your trip,makes one want to travel.
Like the pics.
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