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Ecuador: Part II of Alan’s tales from Ecuador

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Pinnacle rock from Bartolome Galapagos Ecuador

Alan’s Ecuador tales, part II

Alan’s second Ecuador blog sees him think he’s back in Scotland, take a taxi through the clouds and scour Cuenca for a cannily-priced Panama hat….

 

Alan writes:

“Cuenca is a beautiful city in the southern Ecuadorean Andes with a well-preserved colonial centre, and is the home of the Panama hat.

The hats got their name as during the construction of the Panama canal the workers were wearing these hats, imported from Cuenca. US president Teddy Roosevelt took a shine to them.

I fancied one, but the cheapest was USD 25 up to USD 200 (and more). I would keep my eyes peeled for a bargain.

 

Strolling

Cuenca’s Turi Hill offers a great panoramic view of the city and the de Agosto market is a fabulous place full of colour, a great variety of fruit, vegetables, meats, sweets and plenty of stalls to eat, in particular full, roasted pigs (more photos can be seen on our Facebook).

I went back here for lunch.

The Cathedral is lovely and I walked the beautiful colonial streets, the flower market – wow the smells – and then thanks to the warm weather, changed to my flip flops.

I needed the hat now, for protection from the sun. I got my hat (for USD 10) and I am convinced that I don’t look like a tourist.

After lunch the heavens opened and a thunderstorm hit me. Flip-flops are not the best thing to wear in a rainstorm. Slip-slopping around, with my hat on of course, I insist that I still did not look like a tourist.

 

Are you Scotland in disguise?

Next day I tried a furgone (minivan) to Guayaquil. They do the route for USD 12 (USD 3 more than the regular bus). They are faster and safer so I thought I would give it a go.

We headed off, (fast) driving through the Cajas National Park. It is a specatuclar drive winding down to sea level with stunning scenery, some reminiscent of Scotland.

We stopped at a look out point half way, above the clouds, and then drove down through them. It was like being in a plane without wings!

After about 2 1/2 hours we hit sea level and were suddenly in the tropics. Straight road, lots of vegetation, banana trees and sugar cane. Yup. We were in the tropics! Hot and Humid.

Bellavista Cloudforest Ecuador

 

Next stop: Galapagos

After 3 1/2 hours we were in Guayaquil.

It is a busy city but not nearly as bad as I had imagined. I’m getting ready this evening, as tomorrow the second half of this adventure starts;

“The Galapagos.”

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