Quito to Cuenca, Beautiful…But Long!
Off to Cuenca first thing on Thursday morning we went. Our driver, Gilo arrived about 20 minutes early. This was quite a surprise to me since I was already on Ecuadorian time and was moving at a slow pace. But, we were able to quickly pack things up and load the car. Now, I had itemized our large amount of luggage on the hire e-mail stating that I had two large suitcases, one small suitcase and a very large dog crate to transport. Gilo arrived in a small compact car happy and ready to drive. The fact that one of my large pieces of luggage had arrived late and was to arrive in Cuenca without me proved to be a God send. There would have been no way that third piece would have fit.
Galo was very friendly with a broad and warm smile. “Habla Inglas?” I asked. To which he said: “No!” I thought to myself that this was going to be a long ride in more ways than one. Off we went. The struggles with the language was my first start to my new life here in Ecuador.
The highway was a simple two lane the whole route. We got lost on multiple occasions but not for long. The trek does not have signs directing you as frequently as in the States. If I had rented a car as I had previously tried I would not have made it or it would have been so very frustrating.
The country side is amazingly beautiful. The hills are sectioned off for produce far up to the tops. There are plush green and tan shades of foliage carpeted appearing like your grandmother’s quilt of velvet covering the hills. The sky was a deep blue with low lying clouds moving slowly down the valleys. Along the way the Andean people were working the land and tending the animals. Fully clothed in the traditional wear the women in velvet pleated skirts laced at the hem and the Andean hat. Many times pulling a cow roped by the horns to follow as they walked down the road holding a large wooden staff. Herds of sheep spotted the hillsides grazing slowly and peacefully.
For the last half of the trip the road became very curvy. This was difficult for Barkley as she stood to watch the road she would slide from one side to the other. Upon occasion she would press her nose to Galo and sneak in a quick kiss to his cheek which would cause him to laugh loudly.
Finally, after about ten hours we arrived in Cuenca in the dark. With great struggles we located the Hotel Macado. After unloading the luggage into the beautiful fern filled lobby Barkley came dancing in. The girl behind the desk jumped up from her chair where she was straightening her hair with a hot iron and said: “We don’t allow dogs here!” I informed her that I had reserved the room through a search on “Pet Friendly Hotels in Cuenca” and that the Macado came up on TripAdvisor. She was certain that the owner would not be happy and not sure just why the hotel was listed as such. We were allowed to stay one night and needed to locate another stay in the morning. On AirBnB there was listed a room in a home in the country and I gave a quick call to ‘Bohdi’. He assured me that they would love to have Barkley and off we went.
Although we are out of the city amongst the cows and chickens I can hike a very steep hike up a dirt path to the road and to the bus. It works! It is peaceful here. Barkley is in heaven when we walk out to the pasture where she can frolic with the cows.
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