lessons

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

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

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

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

A Vacation within a Vacation

or Why has Two Who Trek been quiet so long?

The Spanish studies program in Cuenca offers a four day “spring break” halfway through the month-long stay.  The program organizers encourage students to explore new possibilities during this period.  About half the students in our group stayed in the Cuenca area; a few took advantage of day bus trips offered by the school to nearby towns.  A couple went by van with some Cuencanos to Baños, a resort town to the north, reached by driving through the “Avenue of the Volcanos”

Our program organizers took a van load of students to a coastal resort community in northern Peru.  One couple decided to venture to Macchu Piccu, the place where Two Who Trek made their first trip outside of North America in 2006.

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Categories: blog, classes, Cuenca, ecuador, galapagos national park, lessons, photos, preparation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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