andean

Some Cuenca scenes

Two Who Trek take an overall look at the city

As we prepare to wrap up our posts about Cuenca, we realized that we haven’t shown much about the day-to-day life in the city.  Today we will look at some common city scenes.

Cuenca is actually the short name.  Its true name is Santa Ana de los Cuatro Rios de Cuenca, named for the four rivers that run through the city.  The word Cuenca means “river basin” in Spanish.  Continue reading

Categories: andean, archeological, background, blog, Cuenca, ecuador, food, inca, local, markets, mountain, photos, ruins, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ingapirca: Living with the Past

Two Who Trek visit Ingapirca, leaving it in ruins (as it was when we got there)

Some ruins are remnants of the past and stand as a historical reminder of people who once lived here.  Ecuador’s largest and best preserved archaeological site, Ingapirca, means Wall of the Inca in the Cañari language.  This special place was first used for worship by the indigenous Cañari. It was called Cashaloma or Place Where Stars Pour from the Heavens.  

Overall view of Ingapirca

Overall view of Ingapirca

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Categories: andean, archeological, background, blog, canaris, Cuenca, ecuador, inca, lessons, photos, ruins, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Land of the Llama

Two Who Trek see their favorite animals

You’ve previously read in our posts that no ruin is complete without a llama.  Now that we’re back from the land of the llama and fully immersed in the day-to-day, it’s time to reflect and share some things we didn’t have time to write about during our last week in Cuenca.

Llamas are members of the Camelidae family along with camels.  Scientists tell us that camelids have been around for about 45 million years.  About 10,000 years ago, llamas and alpacas were domesticated for food, clothing and transportation.  Unlike cattle which are thought to have a common ancestor, llamas are believed to be domesticated from guanacos and alpacas from vicunas. Continue reading

Categories: andean, animals, archeological, blog, camelid, Cuenca, ecuador, inca, llama, mountain, photos, ruins, travel, wool | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ceramics in Cuenca

People of the Americas have a long pottery-making tradition, predating the European arrival.  The oldest known ceramics were found in communities along the Ecuadorian Pacific coast and were made 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.  The time-honored process is still essentially the same.  Dig up some clay, mix it with water, form it into objects and fire it in an oven or kiln.

In the studio of Eduardo Vega, today’s ceramic pottery is functional and exquisitely formed.  After studying in Europe, Vega returned to Cuenca and developed a unique style, deeply rooted in Ecuadorian history. Continue reading

Categories: andean, art, artisan, artistic, blog, Cuenca, ecuador, local, making, manufacturing, photos, pottery, tallar, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Foreign Fruit Finds

We’ve talked about the wonderful fruit and vegetable markets in Cuenca.  However, many of the items are different from what we would find in the United States.  Today Two Who Trek looks at some of the unusual fruits we discovered in the markets.

First, TWT has a general observation about the quality of the produce available at market.  Most of the fruits are grown in Ecuador and the crops are picked closer to full ripeness than those shipped overseas.  At the time we were in Ecuador, only black cherries were being imported and those came from nearby Chile.  Flavors overall were more intense than the imported produce we might get at the super market back home. Continue reading

Categories: andean, background, blog, Cuenca, dining, food, food preparation, fruit, markets, photos, travel, vegetable | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Museo Pumapungo at the Banco Central in Cuenca

The Museo Pumapungo is large as life!  Located in Cuenca’s Banco Central complex, colorfully animated dioramas illustrate the varied cultures in Ecuador.  These displays cover an entire floor and show life-sized examples from the coast, highlands and jungle.  One exhibit features shrunken heads.

Other Pumapungo (“gate of the puma”) exhibits include photographs of early Cuenca life and a historical perspective on Ecuadorian currency.  A special section shows this first 80 years of bank history.  For a limited time, there is also an impressive exhibit called Oro y Plata.  Many pieces of gold, silver and copper artifacts, created by indigenous people throughout Ecuadorian history, are showcased.

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Categories: andean, archeological, blog, canaris, Cuenca, ecuador, inca, photos, ruins, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Baños del Inca (Inca Baths) at Coyoctor

Several important Inca-era ruins are in the Cuenca area.  Two Who Trek took a bus trip to see one of these, the Baños del Inca (Inca Baths) at Coyoctor.  The Baños del Inca is a smaller but no less  historically significant archeological site, compared to others in this part of Ecuador.

The name is a bit misleading.  The site was actually created by the Cañari people, who settled in the area over one thousand years ago.  In the early 15th century, the Incas conquered the Cañaris and absorbed them and their way of life into the Incan culture.  The Incas then modified the Coyoctor site to meet the Inca ritual of water purification.  Collectively, the site includes worship of the moon deity of the Cañari and the sun deity of the Inca. Continue reading

Categories: andean, archeological, blog, Cuenca, ecuador, photos, railroad, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Music the Andean Way

The music of Ecuador is varied.  Listen to classic rock, jazz and salsa coming from taxis with open windows and no riders.  In this city of parades, marching band music abounds.  The local symphony orchestra hosted a recent concert, free of charge, which was wonderful.  (Two Who Trek think it is best described as South America’s version of the Boston Pops.) Continue reading

Categories: andean, blog, celebrations, Cuenca, ecuador, festivals, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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