OK… yes, I know it was a little more than a day for this last post, BUT in my defense, I had it all ready to go, I just didn’t have my computer for a week… You will have to stay tuned to hear all about that adventure filled week. *
As for the first couple of weeks in December they were quite filled with parties and traveling. The first whole week in January is what is called the Quito Festivals. It is a time where everyone in the city has huge parties to celebrate the Independence Day on the 6th of December. (Except the parties are all week) They have a certain card game that is also played at this time called Cuarenta (or 40). I will now say that I am an EXPERT Cuarenta player and actually beat my teacher in a game when we played…
So after that fun filled week, I went finally started traveling and headed down to a town called Cuenca. Cuenca is a beautiful city with a Historic Center that blows a lot of other towns out of the water. There are a ton of Churches, and many different shops/restaurants/vendors everywhere selling things. I had a wonderful time there and actually was angry I didn’t plan to spend MORE time there. I thought I was going by myself but while having lunch with two of my classmates, I dropped the idea to them and they seemed up for the challenge. I had the luxury of taking a flight to Cuenca, so I got there a day before the boys and had time to explore and walk around the city by myself.
While I was eating supper alone, I saw another man (who looked as if he spoke English, and was also traveling) eating as well, so after I finished most of my meal, I got up the courage** and went up to this complete stranger in hopes of making a new friend. It totally worked. It was nice to have someone to drink a beer and have a conversation with. And as it turned out, he wanted to go to the same city I did the next day, so we made plans to meet up when my other two boys got here to go to Chordoleg.
The next day we decided to go to The Cajas National Park. The Cajas is a wonderful little national park with tons and tons of lakes scattered through the mountains. Getting there was a bit of a bust because the bus driver didn’t let us out at the correct point, so we had to wait on the side of the road for another bus to drive by to bring us 8 km back up the mountain so we could get going on our hike. (So on a side note make sure the guy who takes your money is on the bus or atleast know where you are going… OTHERWISE they just blow right past your stop.) It was a cold day but we figured that once we started to hike we would be just fine and honestly we were. Come to find out however, this whole entire park is basically one big wetland so needless to say our shoes and socks were soaked by the end of our trek. We even managed to get lost for a little while and had to do some major mountain climbing in order to get to the road instead of turning around and hiking back for 3 hours. Thank gosh there was another girl with me, otherwise I would have felt very VERY miserable complaining to the boys about how much it sucked getting lost.
The trail that we took was one that didn’t bring us directly back to where we started and so again we were in the middle of nowhere waiting for a bus to drive by in order to bring us back to Cuenca. So while waiting, we did what any group of 20 somethings do best… started walking with our thumbs out. A ton of cars passed us, but finally a very nice man decided to pull over and give us a ride home. He had a huge van and he was the only one in it! *** We had a great conversation on the ride back, and he dropped us off right close to our hostel. So now I can officially cross off Hitch Hiking off of the bucket list I don’t actually have.
Again, you will have to wait a couple days to hear about my most recent travels and holiday festivities… but until then, I hope that everyone had a Happy Christmas and made a cake to help Jesus celebrate his birthday.
*I would say tomorrow but you know how that went last time… whoops.
**Maybe it was the wine…. Liquid courage is still courage in my book
*** No, the van wasn’t White… Yes, the van had windows… No there were no blood stains or faint screams coming from anywhere.