Bespolka Home Page Ecuador 2001 Home South America 2001/02
Previous Day   Next Day


The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Ecuador - 12 November, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hostal Marques, Baños S01º24.003' W078º25.125' 1,814 m
Ingapirca (Inca ruins) S02º32.380' W078º52.504' 3,150 m 272 km
Finish Hotel Presidente, Cuenca S02º53.798' W079º00.135' 2,576 m 81 km

Leg 1 Total:

969 km


771 km

Grand Total:

1,740 km


Weather: Mixed.  Cloudy to partly cloudy.  Occasional light rain interspersed with occasional sun.  Cool.



Today is a long driving day - we will be heading further south to Cuenca with a stop at the most important Inca site in Ecuador - Ingapirca.  We have an early start - 7 AM and drive south.  The first stop is an important one - we see a shop that is selling cartoon character garbage bins so we have to stop to pick up a "Coco the Clown" for Priscilla.


Today we have our first rolling lunch - it was not too bad as this was on a paved road.  Other than the occasional pot hole and sharp bend, it was a smooth ride (smoother than the rolling lunches we had on our Trans-Africa).  As we drove along we were able to observe locals going about their daily routine.  Many of them dressed in their traditional dress.  The ladies had on thick, solid colored stockings, a knee length skirt that was a solid color with a colorful trimming, and a coat or cap over a wool shirt.  This was all topped off with a very nice hat.


We arrive at Ingapirca at 3 PM on the dot.  We start off by taking a look at the museum, but there were two problems - no electricity so it was very dark and all the labels and descriptions were written in Spanish.  So we could not read or understand much.  But this was made up for by the guide that was assigned to us.


We had a wonderful colorful guide who provided us with plenty of commentary in very good English that was peppered with phrases like "so that explains the situation" and "come, that is all here".  It is not a huge site and there are llamas wandering through the ruins chomping on the grass and wandering on the ruins.  It is not clear how significant the ruins are and the site did not exist for long - only about 12 years.  It was destroyed when the two Inca brothers started fighting.


Ecuador01_Inga3_3878_Web.jpg (87811 bytes)

But they do have some of the best examples of the Inca mortar-less stonework.  In fact, we were shown the three qualities of Inca stonework, the third quality used mortar and stones that were not carved, the second quality used partially carved stones and a little mortar and the first quality is the one where the rocks are carved smooth and fit perfectly together, such that you cannot slide a piece of paper between the stones.


Ecuador01_Inga5_Door_3880_Web.jpg (93039 bytes)

One of the buildings (with second quality stone work) still has the original walls standing (the Spanish built a second floor onto it), and we could see how they built the trapezoidal doorways that can so well withstand earthquakes.  There were a number of niches in the wall and the upper corners of the interior had stone "hooks" from which to hang curtains to cover the niches where idols and other religious objects were stored. 


Ecuador01_Inga7_Temple_3882_Web.jpg (69379 bytes)

The main structure was awesome.  This is constructed using the first quality stone work and the quality of the workmanship is obvious.  The stones form an elliptical platform filled with dirt upon which a temple was built.  The Temple of the Sun is partially destroyed, but we could see how it was used for religious and ceremonial purposes.  The doorways were built in relation to the winter and summer solstice.


From the top of the temple we could also see some stone steps that are over 1,000 years old that have just recently been discovered when a wall collapsed.  These steps belonged to another people that were on this site before the Incas.  As we slowly made our way back to the truck, a slight drizzle started - we were glad that it held off while we were touring the site.


After spending about one and half hours at the site, we headed on.  The road varied a lot - we had dirt and paved road.  It went from, at times, one lane to two lanes to, eventually, four and six lanes as we approached Cuenca.  We went up and down mountains and we went along cliff edges.  At times it seemed impossible to have roads in some of these places.


We arrive in Cuenca just before 7 PM.  We wound our way through the narrow cobblestone streets and were able to find the hotel without too much trouble.  Well, the what seems to be the usual trouble with the hotels occurred - they gave away a number of our rooms.  In the end, the group split up between two hotels (we ended up in Hotel Presidente).


After dropping off our bags we wandered the streets for a while.  It was hard to tell as the streets were quite dark, but it seemed like a charming town.  Most things were closed so we just explored and turned here and there.  In the end, for dinner we grabbed a hot dog from one of the street vendors - it was quite tasty and inexpensive.  We had earlier noticed an ice cream parlor and decided to go back there for an ice cream - and it was a good idea.  It was delicious.  Paolo gave a nice smile to the lady and she gave him extra big scoops.  We plan to return tomorrow!


Previous Day   Next Day
Bespolka Home Page Ecuador 2001 Home South America 2001/02

Copyright ©2001