Monday, 13 June 2016

Cuenca


My first stop on the mainland was Cuenca, a city with a beautiful historical center that reminded me somehow of Graz, but I haven't figured out why. Maybe it was just the same size. But I really enjoyed walking around because there were so many beautiful buildings. Still, it was not the classic beauty, one might recognize that lots of the buildings need a do-over, and that they are currently building a tramway through the city, therefore construction areas take up whole streets, did not help either. Still, there was something about the city that really made me enjoy it.


It could be that I just like compact city centers, so you could see how it grew over the time. Or it was the river directly next to the center that offered enough space to sit down and hang out in the "nature".  It felt like some kind of narrow, very long park all along the city center.


I was really impressed how beautiful the grass was besides the river. I haven't seen a beautiful natural lawn since leaving Austria. But then, they also had wild growing flowers like clover and dandelion, which was really weird for me because I didn't expect to encounter the same flora so far from home. But then, even the mountains sometimes seemed the same.


Sure, everything is bigger here, but I still had some moments when I looked out of the window of the bus and felt kind of disappointed because there wasn't anything new to discover, just some mountains with coniferous forests and lots of fields inbetween. Not even some cliffs or anything spectacular. But still, the houses are quite different. While there are some really beautiful ones, the most seem quite simple and rustic, just covering the basic needs.


I also visited some surrounding towns because I read the are really beautiful and have a lot to offer. They really were beautiful. One of them, Chordeleg) was known for their silver and gold jewellery, so I thought I could buy some small presents, but of course I only ended up buying stuff for myself. I just couldn't think of anybody being as happy about some beautiful earrings as me.


One other of the towns, Sigsig, was known to have some archeological site from the Incas, and my brochure said it's close. So when I didn't find it after three hours of walking (in several directions - there were some street signs but they all shortly disappeared) it was already to late so I just enjoyed the nature around and the nice center of the village. I really just should have taken a taxi there but some voice inside my head told me "you can't just let the taxi take you around, you have to walk to some places by yourself!"


So, like I mentioned I took the stupid decision just to discover it by walking, which wasn't really my brightest moment because my legs were still sore from the trip to the national park. It would have helped, too, if I hadn't decided to go out dancing on the day of my worst muscle ache in years, maybe without all those action my legs would have recovered sooner. But then, I knew I would be visiting another archeological site from the Incas, actually the most important one of Ecuador on the next day.


The site is called Ingapirka and it's more like a mixture of Inca and Canari, because the Inca couldn't defeat the Canari so they cooperated. Like most of the Inca leftovers, it was destroyed by the people from Spain coming in 15something to conquer South America. So all that's left are some walls and one temple where they did their ceremonies for the sun and the moon. In this region, they also speak another indigenous language which is also on every street sign and so on.


One thing I had to learn was never to trust time indications, especially not when dealing with going by bus. When they say it's half an hour, I am in the bus for one and a half hours. When it's one hour, it's more like two hours or more. Also, they always show those freaky movies on the busses in a volume that high you can't simply ignore it. Fortunately, I already adapted to going by bus until now (I sometimes suffer from motion sickness) and therefore my mp3 and my e-book-reader are my best friend for those long bus trips. If I am not simply staring out of the window and admiring the beautiful landscape combined with a beautiful city like Cuenca.