Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dreams of Xela (Cuenca)

Getting to Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca (from now on just Cuenca) was easier than I thought. We still didn't know if we had a place to sleep or not. We had. We stayed with a CSer for two nights.

The fact that made me like Cuenca a lot is that is very similar to Xela. Four rivers go through town: Tomebamba, Yanuncay, Tarqui and Machangara. I'm not sure if I noticed all of them, most likely I didn't. One of them divides the old part of the city from the new. Along the river bank of this (dividing) river is a neighborhood named El Barranco. It has cafés, bars, restaurants, hotels, a walking path. Cuenca is one of the oldest cities in Amercia with 455 years of being founded. The "new Cathedral" is from 1881 and is across the street from the main square. The old cathedral is now a museum.

Our host had to go out of town but we wanted to stay longer, so we did. A few meters West from where we were staying there was a firestation so we went to ask them if we could stay; they sent us to a bigger station telling us that they will call the  people there and they will help us. They didn't. They didn't call and the others didn't let us stay. We walked to the station for more than 30 minutes so after we were told that we couldn't sleep there we took a rest.

Then came Pablo who "smuggled" us into the volunteer room and even invited us to his son's friend's birthday party the next day. We mentioned that we wanted to visit El Cajas National Park he said he could take us. We walked around a lagoon that didn't seem big but was very big. So big it took 2 hours to walk around it. Even if we were at sea level I would have gotten tired. We were at 4000m above sea level! It was very exhausting but it was great.

He invited us to spend the night in his flat the night before and we were expecting to sleep on the living room floor but we slept in his son's room.

All in all the time in Cuenca was super great. Ecuador has been treating us amazingly. But it's time to start heading North. Back to the Northern Hemisphere. Back to Colombia.

I left Cuenca with one less piercing and with a "new" pair of trousers. Gracias Pablo!

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