Saturday, September 17, 2011

September, 2011 Bienvenidos a Cuenca, Ecuador

The river Tomabamba and this view can be seen
 from the living room in our house
Here we are once again in Cuenca, Ecuador at the end of our first week of our four month adventure in South America. It felt like "coming home" when we returned to my family of Yolanda and her daughter Bernarda. We are just a part of this family enjoying many meals together as well as short trips to nearby sights. This week we were joined by Kris, another student at our school who is here for one week. She was fun and we are all enjoying speaking and listening in Spanish. I must say that my listening skills have improved as our family members love to talk and tell many stories.
Beautiful door from the nuevo
 church in the center of town

Big local and organic Saturday market

Mote - one of our favorite foods, served like rice
 to include in soups, or just as a side dish.
Most days we are going to school from 8am-noon. In the afternoons we either have events at the school or we plan an outing with the family. We always return home at about 1pm for Almuerzo (main meal of the day) and then enjoy a lighter meal in the evening. Yolanda is very accomodating to us to make sure to make all the foods that we like and she lets us join her in the kitchen to help whenever we want. She is thrilled that Ricardo does the dishes. This seems to be an oddity here in Ecuador as most men do not partake of any chores of the home.
Carrots at the market

An example of a meal in our house.
 Lots of hot and cold veggies

A view at the top of one of the many sets
of steps leading up from the river.

some kind of squash type vegetable

A fruit at the market, though we have not tried it yet

Panama Hats

Cuenca is the home of the "Panama Hat" and this is was part of our city tour. Richard is in the market for a new one as his last was given to a friend in Mexico. As you will note if you have been reading this blog for a while, I am repeating some events and even some photos. It is very hard not to take photos in this photogenic surrounding. I know that many of you enjoy the photos so I am including many and will just put captions on them rather than detailing all of the events surrounding them. 
Pumapungo - Ruins right in the middle of town -
dating from both Canari and later, Incas.

Near the ruins is an area with birds of Ecuador
Cuenca boasts the fact that it has 52 churches in the center of town - allows to go to a different one every week!

A view of the 3 cupolas of the main church in the city.

The family - Yolanda in the back,
Kris and Bernarda in the front

In the town of Gulaceo - hand embroidery

The ancient art of IKAT....string is wrapped around yarn and then dyed naturally. The string is later removed and another time to dye
which gives a different pattern when it is woven. We saw this in the town of Gulaceo.

My new IKAT shawl with the woman
who made it.

Some of thousands of new orchid plants that are being germinated
and many new species are being created. We visited one of the largest
Orchidareas in the country - with orchid being shipped all over the world.

I love these leaves.

with our guide at the orchidarea

An amazing Peacock - doesn't look real in this picture or
in real life.

Two happy campers

Rosareo - a drink with fruit, and the Ecuadorean version
 of a quesadilla which is a corn and anise treat.

Hot springs in Banos de Cuenca - about 15 minutes from downtown.
We are glad to be able to stay in touch with all of you through email and this blog and we are able to talk on skype so send us a note with a good time to call you and we will try. Also glad that I can keep up with many of you on facebook - never thought I would be so attached to it, but it sure is a great way to stay in touch when traveling as gypsies. Another great travel addition this time is our kindle's. Richard is reading only in Spanish using the kindle Spanish dictionary and I am happy every night with my lighted kindle reading (in English). FYI, I am reading "Unbroken" which I highly recommend.
Well, that's it for now....more to come in a week or two. Thanks for joining us on our travels.