Hello! My name is Jovonnie. I'm going to Cuenca, Ecuador this summer for 5 weeks and staying with a host family. I noticed you traveled around South America, do you think you could tell me about the best things you saw in Cuenca? I am soooo excited to go!!! :)
The best things in Cuenca… The plazas, all of them. Parque Calderon and its new and old cathedrals, Plaza de San Sabastian… I LOVED Museo de Arte Moderno, it was such a nice surprise and so lovely. Prohibido Museo de Arte Extremo was interesting—gothic and so on. I also went to Gualaceo and Chordeleg, and those were not far from Cuenca and very interesting. Also not far from Cuenca is Saraguro, a beautiful bus ride, and a fantastic Sunday market. Parque Nacional Cajas will make a good day trip (or longer if you’re super into camping), lots of lakes full of trout and trekking. (But if you’re planning on spending the night, I wouldn’t do it alone.)
But the best thing is to just walk the city. It’s beautiful, and the food is great—especially the humitas!
Just wanted you to know that you have more than 3 followers. I saw the article in the Pioneer Press and have been following you since then. It hasn't been easy, because I had to sign up for tumblr to finally comment. I am enjoying your photos and your commentary, living vicariously through you. How long are you going to be traveling?
Ah! Tumblr has given me some difficulties in that respect. Thank you for your dedication!
I don’t know when you wrote this message (tumblr won’t let me see it), but I will be traveling for about another ten days. It’s been a long time down here, and I miss things like wheat thins and Greek yogurt. (Kidding. Kind of.) I’m trying to update a little more frequently (Santiago and Mendoza made me lazy), so hopefully you can keep better track of me. I’ll be back stateside around April 1… Such a short time away!
Not a question just a comment, I'm Ecuadorian didn't like your story about Ecuador one bit, hate when people makes us look as just a bunch of old houses, wild animals on your yard ,indigenous etc etc. Is true is part of our identity,that I'm proud but is not just that, there's beautiful modern architecture as well as fantastic old town churches in Quito or Cuenca, there's Guayaquil that is a beautiful and very modern city too! I could go on and on. Overall your story was pretty boring, sorry
Sorry you didn’t enjoy the piece. It wasn’t meant to offend or condense the culture of Ecuador into “old houses” and “wild animals on your yard”, but that is part of the Ecuador I experienced—though absolutely wad not my biggest takeaway or impression, and I wouldn’t want readers to feel like that’s all I had to say. Unfortunately, because of my limited time and route, I didn’t expience as much of Ecuador as I would have liked (staying only in the central highlands), and didn’t explore Guayaquil or any of the coastal cities.
On another note, the story for the Pioneer Press is written on a broad scale because of both the readership and the framing of an op-ed. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it, but there were quite a few more things explored on my blog.
Hi Natalie, I read your Peru article in the Pioneer Press this morning and loved it. I am heading to Cusco in a few days and will face the same rain and mud that made your trek so interesting last month. From one stiletto girl to another (kidding--I'm 54 years old and would kill myself in those things--but wish I could wear them), do I need to wear rubber rain shoes or can I get away with my water proofed leather ones well enough? Thanks from a Maplewood Diva.
Hi! Sorry for the late response! hope I can still help…
Water proofed leather shoes are totally fine—cusco itself as a city isn’t really muddy. Just get sturdy hiking shoes and you’re solid.
Thank you so much for the email! It’s good to know there are readers out there somewhere… :) good luck Maplewood Diva! Have fun!
All right, look. I know I’ve been a bad blogger. But here’s the deal: I’m in Buenos Aires. There has been so, so, so much to do. Like shop and shop and eat and shop and see a museum and visit the oldest subway car in the oldest metro stop in the oldest metro station in the whole of South America.
I’ve had a lot on my plate.
But here: Buenos Aires is everything everyone says it is. European, architecturally phenomenal, feels like Paris, everyone is beautiful, etc. I have spent two full days wandering through the barrios, oohing and ahhing, drinking wine and eating empanadas and dulce de leche by the pound (practically). It’s big and vast, and unlike Santiago (which I loved), it’s like the entire city is trapped in time. Buenos Aires feels like a time bubble, where all the cafes have kept their original look. At any moment, I expect the rooms to suddenly fill with smoke and tango dancing men.
This is an easy city to fall in love with. Every street corner can be as romantic as you want it to be, graffiti and all.
Wherever you go in South America (or at least, between Ecuador and Peru and Chile and Argentina), you generally pay for your water, and you always have two options: sin gas or con gas (regular or sparkling). I generally prefer regular. I always say “agua sin gas.” And unfailingly, I am always brought agua con gas. After nearly three months of being ignored, I could cry over this. Is it my accent? Do they just not have agua sin gas and list it on the menu regardless? This bubbly water does nothing for my thirst! Come on, people! Regular water! There’s no way so many servers can forget what kind of water I asked for by the time they get back inside, no matter how long they take (and they do take long).
Okay. Fine. I’ll just have wine. It’s cheaper than water, incidentally.
It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air -
and there, night came in.
When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography -
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.