After leaving the Galapagos I had two options, head up the coast to visit a whale watching area (the only water national park in Ecuador) or head inland to Cuenca. Julia proffered some advice pointing out that the coast would be similar to Guayaquil (horrible) and that her experience of the whale watching wasn’t any better than we had seen from the boat in the Galapagos. I decided to head inland to Cuenca.
Cuenca is a nice little city with lots of churches (surprisingly!) and it was easy to find a hostel (Hostel Cafecito). After wandering around to orientate myself I popped into a little bookshop ran by an American couple and asked for advice on where to eat, what to see… They pointed me in the direction of a nice little Columbian restaurant where I had arepas – essentially big pancakes with a topping of beef, onions, tuna… The night was a bit of a ‘mare in that I was sharing with four girls and they are blumin messy and noisy! They arrived back at 2am and talked loudly, slamming doors, jumping about but eventually went to bed. A little while later I went to the loo and fell over the stuff they left strewn on the floor and even think I stood on a camera as well. It was impossible to avoid as it was in the middle of the floor!
The next morning I met up with Julia again and we toured a little bit of the city popping into the museum with shrunken heads (they are weird!), had coffee, walked the riverside, drank milkshakes… It was a nice relaxing time in Cuenca just chilling. I had my jeans repaired for $2 although I really need a new pair – they fit when I left the UK but now need a belt constantly. In fact, i need to replace pretty much all the clothes I brought with me as they are all too big! I’m going to wait until the USA as I can’t see a need for heavy trousers in Central America.
The following day I headed out to the house of the family Julia was staying to fix their Router (they have odd Internet connections here!), had lunch and then headed out in their car for a tour of the surrounding villages. It was brilliant and we saw things normal tourists wouldn’t. The best bit for me was when we visited Flavio’s brother and had a natural yoghurt and orange drink – it was lovely! Afterwards we saw a woman milking a cow and fighting with a calf for access to the teats. Still, the yoghurt was nice so I’m glad she was fighting and winning!
On my last night, Julia spent more time with the family and I met up with Justin whom I first shared a dorm with in Rurrenabaque. His opening remark was “I recognise that head” whilst my back was turned. I couldn’t for the life of me place him but recognised his voice. It may have taken a couple of hours but I remembered eventually! We ended up going for a curry and beers and shared a shisha which whilst not as good as a friend back home makes, was fun to smoke! I did however fall fast asleep at 10pm!
Leaving Cuenca was easy for me – it’s a small town and a great place to visit but after a couple of days you’ve seen and done everything. If it wasn’t for Julia’s company I’d have moved on after a day or so.
More pictures of Cuenca
More pictures of Cuenca and surrounding area can be found in the Digitallery album South America – Ecuador – Cuenca
Click here to load a map showing you the location of this post and images from the digitallery taken nearby.