When you love to travel, the next destination is already occupying your thoughts. In your mind, you’ve leapt forward and are already on your way, wondering what it’ll be like, what to pack, anticipating problems getting there… And this is how it was for us. We had planned a beautiful month on the coast of Ecuador in Canoa. We imagined ourselves already there, studying Spanish and enjoying the beach. We came so close…
Two days before we were to take the bus to Canoa – with the beach and Spanish lessons waiting for us – an earthquake destroyed 90% of the town. We couldn’t believe the immense tragedy for so many people on the coast.
Now, we had no choice but to very sadly leave the beach dreams behind and make new plans. We settled on Cuenca, an historic city, a UNESCO World Heritage Trust Site. We decided it would be a worthy replacement.
We searched internet sites to find the best way to get there. Many folks favored flying or taking small vans. At $8, the bus sounded fine to us.
As soon as we left the city of Guayaquil and were in open country, we pulled out our cameras.
The bus stopped periodically and usually a man would hop on selling food and drinks, getting dropped off at the next stop. This time the bus pulled over at the crab vendor’s stand. The crabs were still squirming, and we wondered if people on the bus ever bought the crabs, and what do they do with them during the ride?
Overcast skies turned to rainy weather with low visibility as the bus climbed steadily up the mountain. Higher and higher the bus climbed until the sun and blue skies appeared through the fog and rain. The bus had climbed above the low rain clouds. We were probably at 2,130 m. (7,000’) elevation when this photo was taken.
The mountains were now in view, and Joe took out his iPhone to check the altitude: over 3,350 m. (11,000’).
The highest point, according to his iPhone, was along this stretch of road in Cajas National Park – 4,050 m. (13,300’).
The descent to the outskirts of Cuenca (2,440 m (8,300’)) happened quickly.
We gathered up our bags and prepared for our arrival. No matter how a traveler gets to a destination, every step is a new adventure. “Welcome to Cuenca,” we said to ourselves as we stepped off the bus.