October 8 – Weavers, Orchids, and Llamas

Today was a day of exploring the surrounding countryside of Cuenca.  Our first destination was the small town of Gualaceo, where we visited a special place where a centuries old art called Ikat is done.  It is a form of weaving done entirely with organic material and made by hand from start to finish.  The results are beautiful.


Next stop was a plantation where you could purchase orchids.  There were literally hundreds of different varieties to choose from.


The small town and surrounding countryside were beautiful.


After this little tour, it was time for lunch at one of Wilson’s favourite places – El Che.  A small BBQ spot just west of Cuenca on the highway going towards Guayaquil.  BBQ pork, chicken, ceviche, and of course Ecuadorean beer.  The whole meal for all three of us was less than $20.


Next up was a drive into the mountains towards Guayaquil.  We reached the top of the continental divide where there was a small park.  Again, fantastic scenery.  On the way back down, we encountered wild Llamas in a field beside the highway. There are large tree plantations on the mountainside growing Canadian Pine that provides straight lumber for building.  The Ecuadoreans started importing and planting these trees over a hundred years ago!


Sadly, our trip was coming to a close.  The next day we had to say goodbye to our friend Wilson and catch our return flight back to Quito.