Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is a charming city in southern Ecuador that we first heard about from a cab driver in Denver, and we were looking forward to putting down some roots for a few days after basically being in transit for the previous four. Luckily for us we stumbled upon Casa Ordoñez which proved to be excellent for doing so. Sr. Alberto Ordoñez has created a truly unique lodging experience. It’s sort of a combination hotel/guesthouse, and it’s evident that he strives very hard to make it something other than the usual scene where you check in and check out without ever having much personal interaction with either the staff or other guests. Being welcomed there was like being welcomed into his home, which it essentially is as it has been in Alberto’s family since his grandfather bought the property over 100 years ago. We noticed things were different the first morning we went down to the restaurant for breakfast and all the other guests, who we had not even met yet, greeted us warmly. It was sort of like one big family of strangers, and this was reinforced later in the evening (and each subsequent evening) when the informal happy hour kicked off. The other guests included three other couples and a man traveling on his own. Everyone was friendly and charming and quite interesting, and we wound up hanging out, going on excursions, and having dinner at night with them. It turned out two of the couples were in Cuenca checking out retirement properties. Apparently it’s in the early stages of becoming the next hot gringo retirement place, and it’s easy to understand why since property is cheap, it’s relatively safe, and it has surprisingly good healthcare.

Kelly and I spent three days there strolling through the streets and taking it easy. Although it’s a fairly large city, Cuenca had a much more relaxed vibe about it than Quito, and it was a nice change of pace to be able to walk around without having to glance over your shoulder every two seconds. One afternoon we checked out an interesting museum that covered the ethnography of all the different peoples that make up Ecuador. Behind the museum were some really cool ruins of buildings that were begun by the Cañaris and later expanded upon by the conquering Inca. It included a big garden where they were growing examples of the crops used by the Inca and also the furry friend shown above. The llama, not Kel. Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Cuenca and would highly recommend it to anyone else. Like most places we’ve visited so far we could have spent longer there, but alas the allure of the open road is too hard to resist. We’ll next be making our way to Peru, a country I’ve been waiting to return to for a few years, and the anticipation is killing me. See you there…

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2 Responses to Cuenca, Ecuador

  1. Sheila Moore says:

    Ethnography (from Greek ἔθνος ethnos = folk/people and γράφω grapho = to write) is “the science of contextualization”[1] often used in the field of social sciences—particularly in anthropology, in some branches of sociology,[2] and in historical science—that studies people, ethnic groups and other ethnic formations, their ethnogenesis, composition, resettlement, social welfare characteristics, as well as their material and spiritual culture.[3] It is often employed for gathering empirical data on human societies and cultures. Data collection is often done through participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, etc. Ethnography aims to describe the nature of those who are studied (i.e. to describe a people, an ethnos) through writing.[4] In the biological sciences, this type of study might be called a “field study” or a “case report,” both of which are used as common synonyms for “ethnography”.[5]

  2. Luci Aandahl says:

    What a treat to share your experiences and observations. Regarding the “hood”, Tara had her lovely baby girl. I am not sure you knew this. Kathie across the street from me is now a married lady. Her husband is not only handsome, he looks very happy. Denver continues to go through a heat wave, so I hope you are having better luck down there. I look forward to reading more repports from your trip and wish you only the best.


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