Jane's Travel Blog

New Chapter: Explore the World


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Hike in the Andes

Simply put, Ecuador Rocks!

Cuenca’s energy keeps me exploring. I walk down any street, pop into a doorway and discover a beautiful court yard, sometimes open to the sky, and sometimes covered and filled with plants. Bonito.

On Monday, Bob and I left the city of Cuenca and headed to Cajas National Park in the Andes. James, our mountain guide, took us to private property in the park owned by a friend of his.

We started our adventure with a cup of half hot chocolate, half coffee at the delightfully rustic restaurant. Of course Bob had straight hot chocolate.

Once we enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant, we begin our hike which took us past many lakes and wild flowers. At one point the ground was covered with a firm moss-like plant that I walked across barefoot.  It was nature’s reflexology and it felt good!

As we continued to hike up, the air became thinner and toward the top, it was slow moving – walk 50 steps, rest and catch your breath, walk another 50 steps, rest… We reached 14,002 feet and it was most definitely worth the effort as the spectacular view opened up in front of us.

When we reached the top, we were surprised by a broad sand-like area. It was a cross between a beach and maybe the moon. Crazy strange!

On the way down we met a family of llamas just hanging out eating grass.

After a awe-inspiring hike, we returned to the restaurant for a tasty trout lunch.

I would say, a perfect day!

Until Later,

Jane

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Country Two, Cuenca Ecuador

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After a wonderful visit in the states to see family and friends, we have headed off to our second country, Cuenca, Ecuador. It’s been five days and already it feels like home. Cuenca is a beautiful colonial city in the Andes.

The day of travel to get here was seamless, right down to meeting the property manager in the early evening. The taxi dropped us off in front of the building, we waited 5 minutes and the manager pulled up in the car to let us in.  We quickly moved our suitcases into the apartment and headed off to a restaurant a half block away for a margarita and some good food.

We woke fully rested, headed out to explore and landed upon a delightful breakfast place in an 1800’s hotel. It was a wonderful pause before we began to wander.

While wandering, we came across a large market with crazy meat parts on display. (No, I did not buy any intestines, not yet anyway. Who am I kidding? I will never buy intestines.) The fruits and vegetables called me, so my first purchases in Ecuador were bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, and apples. It was a tiny bit scary, but Bob was at my side to help translate.

Lesson Number 1 – Many stalls don’t have change for bills larger than a one. Dollars and coins are the way to go.

As all veggies and fruits need to be washed in a solution to make them safe to eat, we headed to the SuperMaxi (a modern supermarket) to pick up the solution along with a few spices. Exhausted, we settled in for the night to a simple meal of tomatoes, beans, and potatoes.

Cuenca is at 8000 feet in the Andes mountains so we need to be careful of altitude sickness. We are drinking a lot of water and are taking any stairs much more slowly than normal.

BTW, Cuenca has many beautiful stairways that lead to a beautiful river and green space. I foresee much time spent walking along the river.

That’s it for now. It’s Easter weekend, so perhaps I’ll get some good shots of the celebrations.

Until later,

Jane