Jane's Travel Blog

New Chapter: Explore the World


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Our Last Days in Cuenca, Ecuador

Bob and I are enjoying our last days of our three month visit in Cuenca, Ecuador. We’ve had many new adventures in the last weeks.

The Cajas called us back one more time for an estupendo hike. Most of the day we were next to a roaring waterfall that calmed and guided us to the lake that fed it. We had lunch staring at the lake where two llamas decided to check us out. It was a perfect day.

Bob has hiked all the highest peaks we can see from the apartment. Early on in this visit, he set a goal to hike them all, and he did it and loved all the challenges and most importantly the views.

I spend the last week at a yoga retreat near the ocean rejuvenating and being peaceful. No internet, amazing vegan food and juices, and the sound of the ocean waves. I would love to make that retreat an annual event.

On a Friday night a few weeks back, we came across some crazy fireworks at the main square, Plaza Calderon. The fireworks are used in the celebration of Corpus Christi. They build wooden structures, attach fireworks to them, and set them off. We ended up sitting right next to the exploding towers. CRAZY & Fun!

On a much calmer note, we visited Cuenca’s Banco Central Museum to see a bonsai exhibit.  Talk about strong, yet small. The museum also has a beautiful outside garden so we found some shade, sat and took in the scene.

As I said in my first blog from Ecuador, Cuenca Rocks! It’s been a wonderful three months.

Sunday, June 28th, we travel to Peru. We have an overnight in Lima, and then fly to Cusco for a seven week stay.

Stay tuned…

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A Nice Routine – Cuenca, Ecuador

Hola from Cuenca, Ecuador.

I have been reminded by two bright women that I haven’t blogged in a while. Thank you Kathy and Bridget. So, with a bit of a loving push, here I go.

I’ve fallen into a beautiful routine of going to Spanish school, going to the yoga mat, and just walking around town discovering what’s here. Where can I buy coconut oil in this town? Who sells the freshest flowers?

Studying Spanish anchors the days. I’ve attended two Spanish school. The first school was in a beautiful 18th century building. Class was just me and my teacher, Juan, two hours a day, five days a week. I signed up for a month and my brain almost blew up. I loved it, and it was very intense, and I learned much. My ear just needs more training and time.

Next, I found “ Coffee Club Spanish.” This course is six weeks, twice a week and I am one of seven students. I love this class even more. Our homework is to read a chapter in Patricia va a California (my best guess is that a Spanish speaking third grader could read it) and then we discuss in Spanish followed by new material. The lessons truly motivate me to keep going. Anna, my teacher, is the best. After class, I usually go to breakfast and rewrite and review my notes, just like a good student should.

Bob and I have met some wonderful people. I join a group of women on Monday’s for Spanish Scrabble. More Spanish study! (Ann and Mary, you would be proud)

Many of our friends love to hike, and one likes to go to the thermal baths with me! Hiking continues to be a big focus for us and we have been on many, one being partly guided by a delightful Ecuadorian woman and her son. Bob has a new pair of hiking boots and a new back pack!

Yoga takes part of my days either at home on the roof or at the yoga studio with Chris.

Whenever a church is open, I stop in to light a candle for family and health.

So, as you can see, life is full of everything I love. Our next stop is Peru for July and part of August and then back to the states to say “Hey.”


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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

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