Page 5 of JohnBroomhall Travel Blog Posts

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca February 11th 2008

I´ve had a couple of questions about my safety around the active volcano, Tungurahua, here in Ecuador. Tungurahua is located a couple hundred kilometers north of where I am staying. So far, I have seen no indication of it; no ash has fallen locally. I met some travellers who saw it at night, and said it was spectacular. The government is evacuating people close to the volcano, and others are on a very short evacuation warning (8 minute notice I heard). This is causing many problems to the evacuees, many of whom are subsistence farmers. From what I have been told, there is little in the way of social safety nets here. My class schedule here has been changed to afternoons this week as they accomodate my short week given my departure to the Galapagos on ... read more

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca February 9th 2008

Long Weekend on the Ecuador Coast First, some logistics - I’m heading to the Galapagos Islands next week on February 14, and will be returning to Cuenca on the 21st. I will AWOL during this time, but will post a blog entry about the Galapagos on the 23rd or 24th. This will be my last blog entry before then. Last weekend was a long weekend here, “Carnival”, which are the celebrations that go on before Lent. Things get a little crazy here, with water fights being at the top of the list - or just bombing the unsuspecting with water balloons. Last Thursday, all the schools must have closed down as the streets were full of parades with kids in costumes. Everything pretty much closed down on Friday through Tuesday. I decided that I should do ... read more

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 28th 2008

January 26, 2008 On Saturday, a group of students from our school went on a tour to Cajas National Park. In Spanish, “Cajas” translates to “boxes”, and the small lakes in the park are characterized as “box lakes”. The park is about 45 minutes drive west of Cuenca. There were about 10 of us from the school, and a few others on the bus for a total of about 13 people. Cajas park is part of the Andes chain of mountains. The park area could be described as mountains and valleys, with lots of pothole lakes. Our guide told us there are well over 200 lakes in the park. In fact, much of Cuenca’s fresh water comes from that area. The park spans the continental divide, so water from the park flows both to the ... read more
From Tres Cruzes
Andianista / Blogadero
Descent from Tres Cruzes

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 24th 2008

January 24, 2008 First off, check down the list for other blog entries. I have not sent out a notification with every blog entry, just the most recent one if I add more than one on the same day. I have not driven in Ecuador, nor do I have any immediate plans to try. However, I have spent a few weeks as a pedestrian in Cuenca, so I can share some observations. 1. Make sure your horn is working; you will use it a lot. 2. If you pull into a line-up of traffic, and the car in front of you is not close enough to the car in front of it, honk your horn. 3. If you have a car in front of you at a red light, honk your horn as soon as it ... read more

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 24th 2008

Saturday January 19, 2008 After breakfast, I went for a walk with my camera, with the goal of getting up somewhere higher to get a good view of the city. First, I went downtown to a “Cabina telefónica” to call my daughters Megan and Melinda. I had a nice talk with Megan, but there was no answer on Melinda’s phone. Meg said they were heading out that day, so they may have left. I had seen a church steeple high up on a hill outside of town “ La Iglesia Turi”, so I started walking towards it. I followed the road towards it, as it switch-backed it’s way up. Eventually, I found a staircase that looked like it went up to the church, so I started up on it. It was a long climb up those ... read more
Cuenca 2
Cuenca 3
Iglesia Turi

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 22nd 2008

The Ingapirca Tour Sunday, January 20, 2008 I headed downtown early for the tour to Ingapirca I had booked earlier in the week. The tour van picked me up outside the school at 8 AM. Ingapirca is a ruins site of the Inca, Canari, and earlier inhabitants of the area. The tour initially took us to the town of Biblian, which has a famous church (“Virgen del Rocio”) perched high on the mountain behind it. The church is literally built on a huge rock. The wall behind the altar is the rock. There are some pretty steep stairs heading up to it. An interesting sideline of the area is that there a lot of nice, uninhabited houses in the area. It seems that most of the population have gone to New York to work as illegal ... read more
Iglesia Virgen del Rocio
Church alter

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 22nd 2008

A Big Cathedral There is a big Catholic Cathedral (“La Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion” or “Catedral Nueva”) in town across from the main square (Parque Calderon). It replaced an older cathedral (established 1787) which is on the other side of the square. The new cathedral was built from 1885 to 1899. It was never completely finished. The intent was to have two tall towers at the front of the church, but it was determined that the foundation would not support the intended design, so it stopped as it is today. There is an enormous gold-leaf canopy over the altar which is very imposing. I felt very small and insignificant inside the cathedral. It kind-of reminded me of the vengeful god in the Old Testament. ... read more
Cathedral from the square
more inside

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 17th 2008

At 4 PM on Tuesday, the director of the school, Fausto, gave three of us students a bit of a walking tour around the downtown area. I met Bernard, a German expat who lives in Portland and is a tour guide for German tourists; and Jenna, who works at the Boston Aquarium and coordinates student interns. Many of her interns are Hispanic, so she is here for two weeks to improve her Spanish Skills. We walked around the downtown area within a few blocks of the school. We saw examples of some of the early and historic buildings, I’ve put some descriptions with the photos. We saw an outdoor market, an indoor market, a fruit market, and had a tour of the factory where they make “Panama Hats” (Rafael Paredes Sombreros). It is something of a ... read more
French architecture
French architecture #2

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca January 15th 2008

Well, I have arrived in Cuenca. The flight down was long, considering I got up at 3:30 A.M. on Sunday. I arrived in Houston about noon, had a four hour layover, then a five hour flight to Quito. I was met at the airport by someone from the school, and delivered to a modest hotel about 15 minutes drive away from the airport ($13 for the night). The room was small, but clean and quiet. I was worried about hot water, but there was no problem. I had a shower at midnight because I had to get up at 4:45 A.M. (which was 2:45 AM my time). A cab was waiting for me at 5:15 and I was at the airport at 5:30. I discovered the time on my ticket was a check-in time, not the ... read more
Bedroom View 2
Bedroom window 1
Bedroom window 2

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