Finally back on the move again
Sep 02, 2009
Where I stayed
Alli Tiarna hotel
I'm back after another little gastro hiccup! It has been pretty annoying, it seems however careful you are these things are inevitable and you can't escape! Well Phil seems to, whilst I appear to have picked up the immune system of a new born baby! Anyway, I won't go into details, you don't want to hear them, and I definitely don't want to share them. However luckily mine and Lucy's illness didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the boys, who still went out till at least 3am each night and came back pissed as newts! Hilarious how they come in smelling like a 6foot cocktail, swaying slightly. Then sit on the end of the bed stroking your hair and saying how they are worried about you so came home early. Now without the hiccup in the middle and the knowledge that this is kick out time, this may manage to sound sincere- however you and me both know- bo****ks!
Anyway enough about that! Well with the help of 3 lines of antiemetics and some Imodium, we're on the road again. Joy of joys more hours and hours on the bus. So from Baņos it was a short hour trip to Ambato. Where with no indication from the bus driver, but another helpful passenger stepping in, we establish this is where we need to jump off. We just manage (with a hell of a lot of shouting) to shop the bus driving off with our bags still in the holdall- would not have been good!!! Then we establish it's a quick sprint across 6 lanes of traffic and then a hop straight onto the next bus to Cuenca. No time for a brief sit down to let the stomach settle then!
The blow of the amount of time spent on these buses is certainly cushioned by the stunning views. The Andes are just incredible! You can be in cloud one minute, and then descend another 100 metres to emerge with the most breath taking view down a valley! I know that the idea of seeing a country out the side of a bus sounds far from fun, but when you get these stunning views for the price of a ticket across London on the tube, you don't complain.
So after just the 7 hours on the bus and we arrive at Cuenca. There were a few slightly sketchy moments with me looking an alarming shade on green most of the way, and then (another!) larey German on the bus. There was a bit of a misunderstanding with a local about seats and they threw this massive strop and the guy got a knife out. A little scary but also bloody annoyingly, they probably thought they were English (as that was what they were speaking) - giving us respectful tourists a bad name. Anyway we arrive in Cuenca at sundown. Lucy and Chief (left before us while my medications took hold) have kindly bagged us a hotel and Cuenca is gorgeous (dubbed as 'the most seductive city in Ecuador' in the Rough Guide). It's again a completely different place to the other parts of Ecuador that we've been to. It's very colonial with a very strong influence of the Spanish invaders. With cobbled streets and gaudy (beautiful if Phil asks) Catholic churches around every corner. To be fair there is a stunning cathedral just next to our hotel with beautiful blue and white domes topping it. We spent two days in Cuenca and did a mixture of cultured stuff and sitting in bars drinking wine (stomach sorted and I'm back in the game!)
One really interesting place we went to- of course ALL the churches we went in were very interesting too... mostly- was the town museum. It has lots of Catholic relics and statues, displaying a massive variety of skill and materials. Then the most interesting floor detailed the history and diversity of Ecuadorian culture. Which in a country which contains coast, desert, jungle and volcanic mountains is as you'd imagine, pretty vast! The bit which we had already heard tales of, and certainly got our attention was the shrunken heads! Apparently it's an old Amazonian tribe ritual where they shrink the heads of their decapitated enemies- nice! We never really established the recipe for this (in case the Germans come back, that's the larey ones on the bus, not the Nazis!) but it did leave the more medically nerdy of us (Phil and Chief) hypothesizing about removal of skulls and steaming! Anyway, bit of a bar crawl home and then out for dinner, and another of our rock and roll bed times of 10pm.
Anyway tomorrow it's onwards and downwards in the path onto Peru, a little stop off town tomorrow night, which I'll leave Phil to fill you in on. If there are any protests at the above information by him, ignore them- this is the truth! I'm much more likely to be honest, mostly as I can't just go off, reel off a few hell Mary's and conscience clear...
Anyway, onto Loja via another bus.