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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Ecuador - 13 November, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hotel Presidente, Cuenca S0253.798' W07900.135' 2,576 m
Finish Parador Turistico de Vilcabamba, Vilcabamba S0415.828' W07913.187' 1,597 m 284 km

Leg 1 Total:

1,353 km


771 km

Grand Total:

2,124 km


Weather: Mostly cloudy, occasional drizzle and cool.  Stretches of fog.



Ecuador01_Cuenca02_Church_3885_Web.jpg (81461 bytes)

We are up early this morning as we have only half a day in this charming colonial city.  After a quick breakfast and a view out over the city from the top of our hotel, we go wander and explore the streets of this delightful city.


The old part of town is dotted with churches that date from the 16th and 17th centuries.  These are interspersed with many old buildings that retain their original charm and character.  We were impressed by the fact that many of the buildings had been or were under restoration.  They are doing a very good job of retaining their heritage.


Ecuador01_Cuenca03_River_3887_Web.jpg (132870 bytes)

We strolled down a few blocks to the Rio Tomebamba, which splits Cuenca in half - the new city on the south side and the old city on the north side.  We are staying in the old city.  We then stroll up along the river to admire the old colonial buildings that line the river.  Once we reach the other end of the old city, we leave the river and stroll around the streets in and amongst the buildings.


Ecuador01_Cuenca05_Detail_3889_Web.jpg (90001 bytes)

Where ever possible we try to peek into the courtyards to get a view of what it is like inside.  Many are very nice and they have been well kept.  The detail on some of the facades of the buildings is also well done (and maintained).


In half a morning, we mist have seen on both the inside and the outside at least nine churches and numerous buildings.  We went into a couple of older buildings that were being used to exhibit artwork.  The floors had fantastic wooden planks and there were wooden beams all over on the walls and the ceilings.  We fell in love with so many buildings this morning.


Ecuador01_Cuenca09_OldCathedral_Int_3893_Web.jpg (118593 bytes)

The interior of the new cathedral was not too grand, but very nicely done.  The old cathedral is under renovation (not sure if we are to happy with how it is being done), and will now be used for cultural events.  The plaza was closed off for renovation.


As we looked for a place for lunch, we noticed that their were lots of riot police around and quite a few journalists.  Some streets were blocked to traffic and it appeared that there was a bit of a demonstration - not sure what it was about and it seemed to be over before it started.  After lunch we went back to our ice cream place - Paolo gave the lady a real big smile again and his ice cream must have been twice as large as Lars' (the price of being married!?!?).


Then back to the hotel to pack up and check out.  After loading up the truck, we head off shortly after 1 PM.  We have a long drive ahead of us - it turns out to be longer than expected.  We also make one wrong turn - there was no sign indicating the direction to go, it was good that we asked.  The drive is through valleys that resemble alpine farm valleys.  As we drive up and down the mountains and through the passes, we pass through stretches of fog and drizzle.


We do not arrive into Vilcabamba until after 9 PM.  We unload the truck, check in and settle into our rooms.  We decide to skip dinner and go straight to bed.  Others head into town for a bite to eat.


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