It was relatively late by the time I got to Cuenca from Quito. I was relieved to see my host family were at the airport to meet me.
Maria & Alfredo do not speak any English so it has been an interesting week and I am slowly starting to find my voice. At the moment I am currently attending three classes in the afternoon, which leaves me the morning to explore the city.
I am sure you would all love Cuenca it is a beautiful colonial city with lots of the original buildings still in good condition. In fact some of the very first stores still occupy the same buildings.
In the centre of the town there is a square filled with flowers and I have spent many an hour there taking photos of unsuspecting passers by. There are still many traditionally dressed people which come from the surrounding mountains to sell their goods in the city and you can notice them by their colourful dress and white hats with a black ribbon.
The weather in Cuenca can change in one day so I have had very hot weather and some cold days. It generally rains in the afternoon and the other day we had a great thunderstorm – at least I like them :-).
Being so high above sea level I still find it not that easy to walk at my normal pace or run up the stairs to the school (I was told there are 66 steps…) but luckily the general route to the town center is along one of Cuenca´s rivers – Tomebamba. There is always something interesting happening like people playing music or people washing their clothes!
One of my weekends I went with a group of other students to El Chirro de Giron – which are some waterfalls about 1 hour south of Cuenca. The drive through the Andes was spectacular and we managed to stop to take some photos. We eventually saw the waterfalls we were about to visit in the distance and it dawned on all of us that it was going to be quite a climb to get there.
Not designed for too many tourist visits there was no such thing as stairs or a man made path and I was cursing the fact that I had to carry my backpack for the next two and a half hours to the top. We did of course have to stop a few times to get to the top because of the altitude and I did wonder how on earth I am going to manage the Inca Trail!
The water fall was well worth seeing and if you didn´t find it to be beautiful I am sure anything you brought for lunch would have made up for it. We were lucky not to have rain and spent a good hour around the pools at the bottom of the waterfall.
Our trip back down was just as entertaining and we almost lost one of our party down the hill…I walked behind him from then on….just in case he lost his footing again.