I thought I'd create a brand new travel blog for my adventures, but I've decided to hijack one I've already established instead. I'll be travelling for three months...eight weeks in South America, two weeks in Ottawa, Ontario and two weeks in Victoria, British Columbia.
I suspect that folks who've read my blog as furniture restoration may well drop out...and I hope you'll stay, because I'll be doing so much more of that, but y'now, there are so MANY different phases of our journey through life 'eh?
Oooohhhh, South America! I've been here only three days, and am positively smitten. I'm based in a city of nearly half a million people in Cuenca, which is a colonial city in the interior of Ecuador, in the sierra of the southern Andes. The altitude here is roughly 2500 meters (8200 feet) above sea level. Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Trust Site...as is our own Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The history, the architecture, the beauty...amazing. "Cuenca" means a confluence of rivers; the four rivers here are the Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machangara. I'm staying just above the Rio Tomebamba, in the "El Centro" historic colonial part of the city. The "newer" part of the city is across the river, within just a few minutes walking.
So why am I here, and why did I choose THIS place...questions that many of my friends and family asked when I booked my solitary travel plans (as they were thinking, but most not brave enough to say "Is she NUTS!?") . The "why" is easy...get out of the Nova Scotia snow for a few weeks, have an adventure, do something out of the ordinary. This fits!
If not now, then when?
As to why I chose Ecuador, it was primarily the climate and the eco-diversity. The weather here is temperate...spring-like...all year 'round, ranging from late-night lows in the range of 4 to 6 C (that'd be 39 to 46 F for those my age, ha ha) to 20-28 C (68-82F) . Because it's such a high altitude, humidity is very low...a MUST for me. From here, I can travel to white sand Pacific Ocean beaches...Salinas, Manta, Bahia...all within a couple of hours by public transport, and stay in a beachfront cabana for a couple of weeks for under $200...and YES, I'll include THAT adventure while I'm here! I can also travel to the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest in eastern Ecuador, where the humidity is 100% and the temperatures range from 23-35C (75-95F)...ummm...100% humidity...will likely NOT venture there this trip.
A five day eco-cruise through the Galapagos Islands will happen next month.
Did you KNOW...Ecuador is probably the most bio-diverse country in terms of plant and animal species in the WORLD?
Did you KNOW...Charles Darwin conducted the majority of his research right here in Ecuador?
THIS adventure is Phase One of my decision to divest myself of the majority of my "stuff..." YOU know what I mean...all those THINGS we thought we NEEDED and collected over the years...and then to experience life living abroad...who knows where...maybe South America...maybe Bali...the "where" is not as critical as the "why..." just to experience a different culture, looking at life through a different lens.
Here's what I left January 9th, just across the street from my place in Halifax.
Here are some first photos of Cuenca. A little glimpse of Rio Tomebamba
To get there is easy...just walk down these ninety-one steps...
...and then , huff your way right back UP those ninety-one steps!
Here's the exterior of the city library, located just to the left of those steps...
The mix of old and new condos to the right of the steps...
I walk almost everywhere within a three or four mile radius, and the walking has become part of the adventure. There's just SO MUCH to see, and I'm enjoying every precious minute! I've met a gaggle of friendly Canadian and American ex-pats here, and have social outings lined up for the next three weeks already.
I'll leave you with some pics of the HUGE Fiera Libre outdoor market I toured yesterday. The sights, the sounds, the smells...altogether a bit of an overwhelming experience actually...but I'll be going again!
Dress is important here, and the traditions of women's skirts are full of history and place...more about that in another post.
You can buy just about anything at this market...want a puppy?
Umm...how about the beginning of a local delicacy called "Cuy..." I'll leave YOU to google it...and NO, I haven't tried it...
Hunk of roast pig anyone? What dinner party conversation back home THIS would make!
PHEW! That's all for now. I'm leaving soon to begin twice weekly "Spanish-for-the-linguistically-challenged" lessons.
I'll visit several churches in old El Centro this afternoon, and who KNOWS what other adventures await! I hear that the President of Ecuador will be visiting Cuenca this Saturday, so I'll trot off to the stadium...won't understand a WORD he says, but I'll BE there! (ha ha)
Life is...so very very...GOOD...I hope YOURS is too. Thanks for stopping by, hope you'll visit again soon.