Last Friday, the 1st of May, was a national holiday (día del trabajo) which meant the school was closed. Instead of having classes on Friday we packed our bags and took off with 15 people to the beautiful city of Cuenca. The journey by bus went well and at 3:15am we arrived safely at our destination. The Bauhouse hostel where we were staying was a very good hostel with spacious rooms and good breakfast.
The first activity on our program was to visit the largest Inca ruins of Ecuador. They are about 2 hours by bus from Cuenca. Unfortunately, there are only 2 busses going there each day and if we would take the one in the afternoon, we would have only 1 hour at Inga Pirca and then we would have not enough time to see everything. Therefore, we took the bus in the morning at 9:00am. This meant that only few hours after we finally could sleep, we already had to get up for our first activity. Luckily, Inga Pirca was worth giving up some hours of sleep for. It was very interesting to see how people used to live such a long time ago.
At night we had a nice dinner with the whole group at Cuchara. The menu offered all types of food, from traditional Ecuadorian food to pasta and a large steak with fries.
Saturday everyone could choose whether they wanted to stay in Cuenca or go to the Cajas National Park. The park has over 200 lakes and beautiful scenery. It’s a perfect place to go hiking. It was not possible to buy the bus tickets a day in advance as there were no busses going directly to the National park (well, there was 1 but it leaves everyday at 8:30am and we thought that was too early). So we went to the bus station with the expectation that we would be able to find a bus that still had some seats left, because in that case the bus companies allow you to travel shorter distances with them. Unfortunately, when we arrived we just missed a bus that left to Cajas that we could have taken. Then we tried to get some seats in other busses but without any success because they were all full. There was a man who was working at the bus station and he had all the information about when the busses were leaving and to where. He told us that in an hour, at 11:00am, another bus would leave which we could take. Of course, we thought that a guy getting paid for helping out travellers by giving them information about busses could be trusted. Just for some while, we trusted that the guy was right. Of course, in Ecuador things never really happen as you expect them to happen. So we waited for an hour and no bus arrived. After another 15 minutes the bus was still not there. At half past 11 the guy was still telling us that the bus could be there any moment. We started to doubt that because other people that did not work there told us the next bus to Las Cajas would be at 2:00pm. After waiting for two hours it was time to stop hoping a bus would still arrive. It would have been a waste of time if we would have waited there any longer, so we decided to do some sightseeing in Cuenca.
Feeling like über-tourists we took the sightseeing bus to see as much of Cuenca as possible. The bus took us among others to the ‘mirador Turi’ (viewpoint Turi). Cuenca is a city with many churches, museums, squares, colonial buildings and colourful markets. It is just great to just walk around the city and experience its vibe. We had a great time in Cuenca!
Some people of the group travelled back to Montañita on Sunday during the daytime. They arrived safely in Montañita at about 9:00 PM. The others wanted to take a night bus back, so that meant that we still had a whole day to enjoy. Gualaceo and Chordaleg are some villages close to Cuenca and are famous for their artisan markets. As you can never have too many souvenirs, we decided to visit these towns and to see what they had to offer. In Gualaceo we asked around for the markets but the locals could only send us to a food market, and in Chordaleg we found eventually an artisan market but it was a very small one. Despite the fact that we couldn’t find the artisan markets (or maybe they just don’t exist), we still had a very nice day.
All in all, we had an awesome weekend trip with lovely people! For the pictures of the Cuenca trip, click here. If you want to see the pictures of the rest of the week 27-5-2015, click here.
Hugs and kisses,