Changing focus: an outing in Cuenca

We’ve learned something important: if a plan doesn’t work exactly as hoped, then be ready to quickly adapt. The wonder is that often we are quite happy (or happier!) with the new plan.

We’d read about the largest park in Cuenca, Parque El Paraiso, a scenic 40-minute walk down the Tomebamba River from our place. It may be the best place in Cuenca to spot birds. On Saturday morning the skies were overcast, but, never mind, we could hardly wait to see the park and watch all the birds.

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As soon as we entered the park we could hear birds chirping.

Lots of birds were somewhere up in trees but how would we ever find them? Be patient, we told ourselves. We watched and waited. Oh, we saw so little in those trees, except the trees themselves. We had to admit we were defeated. Birdwatching wasn’t going to happen today.

The day turned around with this Eucalyptus acorn.

The day turned around with this Eucalyptus acorn.

First, the park turned out to be much more interesting than we’d expected. The perfect place to turn from birding to photography!

Second, what were Eucalyptus trees doing in South America? We think of them as primarily an Australian tree, though we have seen them in many other countries around the world. Turns out that the earliest fossils of Eucalyptus were found in South America, dating back to an age before the continents split. Over time, they died out in South America, and made their way back when reintroduced from Australia.

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In the deep forest we saw few people.

We had been walking along the Tomebamba River when the path took a sharp turn back along the Yanuncay River.

We had been walking along the Tomebamba River when the path took a sharp turn back along the Yanuncay River.

Ahead was a pond with (in our opinion) probably the ugliest duck species we know – Muscovy ducks. Even so, the little ducklings were very cute.

Ahead was a pond with (in our opinion) probably the ugliest duck species we know – Muscovy ducks. Even so, the little ducklings were very cute.

Small trees lined the banks of the pond. Have we ever seen these before?

Small trees lined the banks of the pond. Have we ever seen these before?

Pollen descended to the leaves below.

Pollen descended to the leaves below.

We saw only a few birds, but the landscape, trees, plants, and rivers were more than enough to make up for that disappointment.

We walked on the path by the river and stopped at the Belgian Waffle stand at the edge of another park, Pumapungo. We sat on high stools at the counter under the covered stand and chatted with the affable owner. Just after we ordered, the skies opened up and sheets of driving rain poured down around us, rattling the corrugated roof just over our heads.

How lucky to have seen the beautiful park and now to be seated under cover, happily eating our waffles. The day had not gone according to plan at all. No matter. All had turned out better than we’d expected.

 

 

May 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Ecuador, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Changing focus: an outing in Cuenca

  1. Merrill says:

    Thanks for sharing! We were in Cuenca 5 weeks and never never about this park! The weather change a mixed bag – ever hanging – a lot like Portland!

  2. leggypeggy says:

    We were surprised to see so many eucalyptus trees in South America.

  3. Your first photo, with the walkers dwarfed by those huge trees, is amazing – an excellent example of perspective. We call the seeds of the Eucalyptus trees gumnuts. That one looks pretty big. The mystery plants lining the pond look like Acacias to me. And waffles to end the day…sounds perfect.

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