A Big Step to the South

Trip Start Jan 31, 2005
Trip End Mar 30, 2006

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, February 26, 2005

After hanging out in Baņos for a few days, we took the long trip south to Cuenca. Getting started from Baņos to the south isn't as straightforward as it once was, as the presence of a nearby supposedly rumbling volcano has caused the direct road toward the south to be closed for the last few years. So, we had to take a sort of round-about path back to the northwest and then to the south. All in all, we spent from about 9:30 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening on three different buses, the last one being memorable for being both the most comfortable we've had in Ecuador, while also being the most unappealing due to the stench the bus had acquired from having carried most of its passengers all the way from Quito (we caught it most of the way to Cuenca).

Cuenca is one of the larger cities in Ecuador (about 600,000 people), and possibly the prettiest. There isn't a ton to do other than walk around and take in the city life, but given that it is almost entirely colonial architecture, with narrow cobblestone streets and lots of pretty churches, we didn't really mind just hanging out for a few days. We stayed at a sort of quirky hostal on the 6th floor of a building containing dozens of lawyers, dentists, and doctors - the downside was the sort of frumpy rooms with hard beds, but that was made up for by the great view from the terrace (see photos) and a nice kitchen. We enjoyed going to the market and cooking our own food for a few days.

We are currently in the process of working our way to the deep south of Ecuador (small town of Vilcabamba) after which we are heading to Peru. We should be there by middle of the week...
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