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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Monday, 04 Sep 2006

Location: Cuenca, Ecuador

MapStill in Cuenca although we´ve taken a couple of trips over the last two days. We had a great time yesterday visiting the Parque de las Cajas (thanks to Chris who we met at the Black Sheep for the recommendation). We had an organised tour with a good guide Juan Carlos. It´s about an hour from Cuenca but another world. Very remote, beautiful area of paramo with humid forest, polylepis forest and lots of lakes. Much wetter and greener than everywhere else we´ve been so far but we were really lucky to have a dry sunny day, apparently it rains there 90% of the time. Reminded us a bit of Skye (100% rain?) but a whole lot higher - hard to believe that there are trees when you are above 4,000m. We had a really good walk in the morning ("mostly downhill") - Colin spotted a very rare frog , called a jampato, Juan Carlos was vey impressed and took loads of photos of it with his deluxe beeping camera - but you can see our photo of it. A gentle stroll around a lake in the afternoon.

Spent today at Ingapirca - Ecuador´s main Inca ruins. Went on the bus but bumped into Juan Carlos so had another interesting tour with him. Reminded me (Sue) of Roman ruins in the UK - you have to use your imagination - Colin thinks I´m a Philistine! More museum culture tomorrow then back to Quito.

Have realised that we need more pictures of local people - it´s fascinating to see the indigenous people in the city and out in the country in their traditional costume. The women all wear hats - white straw round here (home of the Panama Hat) and black wool further north and carry babies in shawls across their backs. Lots of people carry amazing loads on their backs - huge bundles of reeds etc. We feel intrusive taking photos but are determined to take some before we leave Ecuador. Managed a photo of a man ploughing today - encouraged by Juan Carlos who took loads of photos of him (after asking him - have to try that).