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Cartagena Clothing

Staying cool in the heat

Clothing should be practical and aesthetically pleasing. In Cartagena, the available options meet that criteria and more. Here, clothing flows and the textures and patterns make it fun to wear.

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Categories: art, artisan, background, bags, blog, Cartagena, clothing, Colombia, dresses, hat, local, making, manufacturing, people, photos, preparation, shirt, travel, weaving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee Break Time

Two Who Trek searches for 100% Colombian coffee

For Two Who Trek, fresh brewed coffee fills our morning senses with contentment and fortifies our ability to handle the day’s challenges.  Location is everything and a Juan Valdez Cafe is just down the street.  When our coffee supply gets low, help is just around the corner.

The image of Juan Valdez is synonymous with authentic Colombian coffee.  Since 1958, the fictional character of a Colombian coffee farmer,  representing the National Federation of  Coffee Growers in Colombia, is Juan Valdez.  He is sometimes accompanied by his burro Conchita, carrying sacks filled with  harvested Colombian coffee beans.

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Categories: artisan, background, Cartagena, classes, coffee, Colombia, food, food preparation, lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flying South for the Winter — to South America, that is.

For the past three years, Two Who Trek (TWT) have visited countries in Europe and Asia.  We are now back in South America and enjoying our first visit to Cartagena and Colombia!  An opportunity for a three week adventure to learn about another culture and to take more Spanish lessons was irresistible.  An added bonus is the sunny 86°F weather here while it is 28°F, cloudy and snowy at home!

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Categories: background, markets, people, photos, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pinnipeds, Porpoising, and People

Mammals, like reptiles, arrived in the Galápagos by sea.  On their own volition, earlier generations of sea lions, fur seals and dolphins swam here.  Their progeny now inhabit the area year-round.  We spent joyful hours watching marine mammals and learned many things about all the area inhabitants from our naturalist guide, Pedro.

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Categories: animals, background, blog, contamination, dolphin, ecuador, galapagos, galapagos national park, mammal, people, sea lion, turtle | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reptilian Residents

No blog about the Galápagos would be complete without a discussion of the archipelago’s reptiles.  After all, the most famous residents of the chain are the giant reptiles that bear the island’s name — the Galápagos Giant Tortoise, the world’s largest tortoise and the thirteenth heaviest reptile, weighing in at over 800 pounds.  So it is fitting we begin our review with Pepe.

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Categories: animals, background, blog, galapagos, galapagos national park, lizard, photos, reptile, tortoise, travel, turtle | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There are More Starfish in the Sea

Galápagos seas are amazing once you look below the surface.  Two Who Trek had opportunities to go snorkeling in the clear blue ocean. There are more starfish in the sea and we saw dozens of them.  We saw majestic schools of fish, a few white-tipped sharks, sea turtles and rays.  Joe even had a sea lion swim within two feet of him.

Ever watch a National Geographic or Discovery Channel special on the Galápagos Islands?   Remember how they would show a school of fish from top to bottom of the screen swimming, say, to the right.  Then suddenly the entire school turns to the left and flashes entirely different colors.  We had always thought that such images were unique; difficult for camera crews to capture.  Not so in real life.  Every time we snorkeled, we saw similar displays of beauty from fish schools and each time it took our breath away (which isn’t necessarily good when you are under water). Continue reading

Categories: animals, background, blog, crab, ecuador, fish, galapagos, galapagos national park, penguin, photos, plants | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Introduction to the Galapagos

Galápagos Islands (Archipiélago de Colón or Islas Galápagos)

Welcome to a world ranging from one and a half degrees north to a half degree south of the equator!

Galápagos means tortoise.  The life throughout the archipelago is as uniquely precious as the giant reptiles for which they are named.  We visited east, south and central islands on our five-day, four-night cruise.  How do we share our diverse adventures in a sensible fashion?  Tipping our paja de toquilla hats to scientists past and present, we will talk about specific zoological groups.

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Categories: animals, background, blog, cactus, ecuador, galapagos, galapagos national park, geological, lava, lessons, photos, plants, travel, volcano | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heading to the Galápagos Islands

When last we left Two Who Trek, the dynamic duo had returned to Michigan after their Ecuadorian adventure. In their last post they promised to include information about the Galápagos Islands. However, it’s been months since we’ve heard from them. What has happened?

In a word – – life.  Births, deaths, separations, reconciliations, illness, recovery, home remodeling, graduations, open houses, more deaths, transitions, summertime adventures, fall chores, volunteer opportunities, holiday preparations and even work all became priorities over blogging. We suspect there was even a bit of “blogger’s block” involved.

All of those items combined to throw this blogging project off-track.  But throughout the past months, Two Who Trek continued to have adventures. Now that things have calmed down during the post-Christmas winter months, we intend to get caught up.  So let’s get started with reviewing the Galápagos adventure.

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Categories: background, blog, ecuador, galapagos, galapagos national park, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saying Goodbye to Cuenca

Two Who Trek share some lessons learned (and not just Spanish ones)

It’s a gray morning in Cuenca – one of the few we have had.  It’s also a sad morning, as our program host will be coming with a taxi about 7 to take us to the airport to start the journey home.  As we share our last breakfast in the apartment (our favorite – a fresh fruit medley, pastry, milk and coffee, today made even more special by sharing a piece of tres leche cake left from the day before), we discuss how profoundly sad we are.  But we knew this day had to come.  Staying in Cuenca wouldn’t be the same – after all, the apartment has been sold, our fellow travelers (now friends) are heading back home, and even one of our teachers has been laid off from the school.  So it was time to leave.

But why were we so sad?  While there is usually a twinge of remorse about a vacation ending, this was a much deeper sadness.  We concluded this trip was the best travel experience we have had to date, one we wanted to continue.  Many questions were answered for us, such as:

Could we live in a foreign country?

Yes.  While we did have some structured experiences throughout the trip, much of the time we were on our own.  We negotiated in stores, found addresses, tried new restaurants, and saw amazing sites.  The more time we spent in the country, the easier it was to navigate daily life.  With more time, practice, and improved language skills, we would have a great living experience.

We only had one time when we had to ask our program host for interpretive help.  Sherri had arranged to have a lovely blazer made to her specifications – two button, hip length, pockets – like one she purchased years ago and has worn out.  When she went back for the fitting, a different seamstress waited on her and we couldn’t understand what she was saying.  Program Hostess Christine came to our rescue, and found the seamstress was saying her associate had only measured for the fabric and didn’t take specific jacket measurements.  After some quick measurements, we were done.  By the way, the blazer is amazing and professionally done, all for $25 for the fabric and $45 for the labor.

Would we want to live in a foreign country?

Not at this time.  We both realized we are closely connected to our family and friends.  Sherri still has a job to go to daily, too. Continue reading

Categories: background, blog, Cuenca, ecuador, Journals, lessons, photos, preparation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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