As an attentive fan of architecture, one of Two Who Trek especially enjoys the visual study of Spanish colonial architecture. During our nearly month-long stay, we visited many sites with our local Spanish instructors or profesores. In and around El Centro Histórico de Cartagena de Indias are many splendid buildings or edificios, both grand and typical. Continue reading
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
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.
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
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.
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