Posts Tagged With: blog

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

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

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 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

Cuenca celebrates Christmas

UPDATE – 1-23-2013 — Two Who Trek attended a presentation yesterday and found there are many more Christmas-related celebrations.  For example, Cuenca holds a Christmas parade that is over 8 hours long.  Plus there is the Festival of the Wikis (no, not information sources.  In this case it is a native word for tears) that starts three days before and ends three days after Christmas.  Daily celebrations occur on the twelve days following Christmas.

Please consider this blog post as being just what Two Who Trek have seen during their stay.  It is not meant to be a complete listing of all the Cuenca celebrations.  If we provided that, WordPress might run out of server space!  Now the original story:

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As Two Who Trek wander through the streets of Cuenca today, the city seems a little less festive.  That’s because the Christmas lights and displays have been stored for another year.  But when we first arrived, we marveled at all the decorations Cuenca had throughout the town.  Continue reading

Categories: blog, celebrations, Christmas, Cuenca, displays, ecuador, festivals, local, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Markets in Gualaceo and Chordeleg

Check cuy off the gastronomic list!  Cuy, pronounced like coo-ee, is an Andean delicacy that we missed trying in Peru on our 2006 trip.  Cuy can be charcoal roasted (as we had) or baked.  What is cuy?  Most people know it as guinea pig.  Forget that Sherri once had a pet guinea pig named Ginger.  The Andean guinea pigs are born to become part of special celebrations, like holiday dinners.  Cuy is delicious!  Joe thinks it tastes like really sweet chicken and Sherri thinks it tastes a lot like dove. Continue reading

Categories: blog, chordeleg, Cuenca, ecuador, gualaceo, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The trip in a box

Yesterday among the cartload of ubiquitous smiling brown boxes from brazillian-river.com[1] that the UPS driver lugged to Joe’s door was this mysterious priority package:

The mysterious UPS Priority package

The mysterious UPS Priority package

Upon closer examination (which really didn’t have to be that close), Joe found that the three-pound package came from AHI, the organizers of the upcoming trip.  Continue reading

Categories: blog, Cuenca, ecuador, Journals, travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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