Thursday, October 11, 2012

Long way to Cuenca!

We were in a bus again, two hours to Riobamba, then an hour stop, before we were on our way to Cuenca! I told you about our hostel for the previous night, and yes, we hardly slept with all the noise!

But we were excited exploring, and as soon as we reached Riobamba, we needed some caffeine and food! Marco spotted the KFC, and again we had their Kung Fu Special!


Off we were to Cuenca, and about six and a half hours later we arrived. Since driving around with the buses the scenery were great, but my favorite was from Riobamba to Cuenca! The mountains were patched with small plots of farms. even high up in the mountains the people were planting crops. We zig-zagged all around and over mountains, so beautiful!

I was so tired when we reached the station, with Marco napping on my lap most of the time, and stupid me, not sleeping, because I was too scared I am going to miss something along the road. We left behind another pork, people sitting on the pavement, another world passed me by.

We were quite a walk from the centre of the historico town, as we set foot. It was not so easy to find a bed this time, the hotels were too beautiful and too expensive for our budget, (100+ US$). We were spoilt with inexpensive accommodation so far, and after searching we found a hostel at 52US$ per night. It truly was a lovely hostel, the best we`ve been in, since we travelled Ecuador. I will recommend this hostel, La Castellana, definitely, with its clean rooms, with crisp white linen, and hot shower, and the lounge with coffee and tea, and a decent breakfast.

Ecuador is a big exporter of roses, and I stood there infront of a church, smelling the fragrance and buying bunches of flowers, Inca lillies , Sword lillies, St Josephs and so much more, just for me....(in my mind)

I think I had three cups of herbal teas, with "aniseed" being my favorite, before we left the room to check out the historico. We went to a lot of cathedrals, the one more impressive than the next with pink marble, and was amazed at the nicely restored old buildings.

 None of the cathedrals could hold up against the majestic basilica in Quito.This must be an architects dream, to stand here, in awe with the architecture of many years ago! We drove through all the streets, and crossed the river, dividing the old town and the new town!

The traditional dress over here differ from those up north. The women wear colorful velvet skirts, with black or white filt hats. I saw the women's hands, and they work hard. The hands are rough, and the nails short,  broken and filled by the soil they work in. They are hardworking women, as I see them in the fields, or handling the cows, or carrying the heavy bags of corn or beans on their backs!

The next day we got onto the red double decker tourist bus, as if we hadn`t have enough of buses yet! But Johan said, he always wanted to ride on one of those, and would like to see if 'Leon Schuster' will get onto it too! We paid 5US$ per person for two hours, with a guide in Spanish and English. Marco and I decided to enjoy ourselves after realising that the guide only tells us to look to the right, there is a church, and then look to the left, there is a a museum. We stood upright waving at all the people on the street, and them waving back at this white haired people in the air!

We saw the Inca Ruins in Cuenca, just an appetizer for us for the Inca Trail in Peru.

We drove op to Turi, and the view of Cuenca was beautiful. Standing there we could see where Cuenca got its name from. Cuenca means 'bowl' and looking out over the city we could see the bowl, surrounded by the mountains in the distance. Tony told us about "caneloza" a warm alcoholic sugarcane drink. We enjoyed this drink, and I made sure to ask for a second glass! It was delicious!

Still standing on this double decker bus, we had fun dodging the electric wires hanging over the streets!

ps. With all this wonderful fruit available, we`ve been eating more healthy, and I know we eat a lot of ice cream, but listen to this! Ecuador also export ice cream, and it is believed that their ice cream contains an ingredient which is anti-aging! We passed an old blue scale on the street, and I pushed Johan onto it! The men around the scale, were already smiling, but when he took of his wrist watch, they burst out with laughter, and without a language, we had such a moment of joy! We stayed and they loved it, especially when they heard we were not Americans, but South-Africans!


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