06.04.2014 17 °C
Day 85 - 91
We spent seven nights here in a two bedroom house that we rented on flip key from John and Barbie from the USA. It was a great week, our last week of the trip. We only went out to eat in restaurants for lunch and really enjoyed cooking our own breakfast and dinner as well as having the space to spread out.
The weather is Cuenca is always spring, although this time of year we did experience some rain as well. They always have flowers and veggies and fruit growing.
We didn't do too much as this was a week to relax and wind down from some hectic weeks prior.
There are many expats living here, and almost the first question you get is, "are you looking to move here?"
I can see why it is attractive however. Costs are low, weather is pleasant and health care is good and very affordable.
We spent quite a bit of time just hanging out with our hosts and another couple Joanne and Kevin from White Rock. Both couples are just four of many who have decided to live here full time. Most, like them, rent rather than buy. They were around our age and had many funny and interesting stories to share.
We did visit the Main museum and found it one of the best we have been in as well as a smaller one, which had handicrafts from all over South America.
A tourist bus tour one day and walked around the main square a few times and found a hammock to bring home.
I spent a day at a spa getting myself cleaned up to come home. What would have cost over $200 at home was only $60 here.
A visit to two 'Panama Hat' factories where we bought a few hats for ourselves and the kids. It is so interesting how they make them. They take palm leaves and cook them and weave them and shape them into hats. All Panama hats are from Ecuador but when they were building the Panama canal they were all outfitted with these hats, so they got to be known as 'Panama Hats'. The fellow we bought ours from has sent hats to Madonna, Prince Charles, Denzel Washington and Johnny Depp. And now the Pattersons.
We also walked along the river a few times which was very pleasant. We really liked Cuenca and can see why so many move here, although it would not be what we would choose for ourselves.
Day 92 and 93
Our flight from Cuenca to Quito had us arrive at 2pm and this was the first time we saw the mountains and the sun. Quito is a beautiful city and we finally got to see it without the rain and clouds.
We visited another amazing small museum, Mindalae with displays from the Oriente region of Ecuador, the Huorani tribes. We recognized so many of the items in the museum from our trip to the jungle.
A visit to the San Francisco monastery and church and another amazing museum, Casa de Abalado which housed pottery and artifacts that were beautifully displayed. I think that Ecuador has some of the best displayed museums of any we have seen in the world.
On our way home from dinner, close to our hotel, we see many police dressed in fancy uniforms and musical instruments ready to perform. There is a road blocked off and many other police with machine guns lined up.
We asked someone what was going on and was told that the president of Ecuador, Correa, is in the building. We walked down the street, past the building and all the police and even walked between the two SUVs, one for the President and the other his security. Doug had a back pack on and no one said anything to us. Can you imagine if that was Mulroney or Obama? We would not have gotten anywhere near the place.
All too soon it seems it is time to head home. We are on the plane now, Quito to Miami, then to LAX and finally arrive Vancouver at midnight where we have to overnight and take the sea plane the next day.
We were so blessed to have all of these amazing adventures over the past year. We loved every country that we visited, but I think that if I had to choose a favourite in South America it would be Ecuador with Bolivia coming in second. But they were all fantastic and each one had its own charm.
Thanks for following along with us. We are both looking forward to being home for a while and enjoying our beautiful island this summer.