Ingapirca Ruins and Cuenca

Ingapirca Ruins and Cuenca — Jan 10th

The drive from Devil’s nose to Ingapirca was incredible. Again you felt as if you were in the sky at the same level as the clouds — they were touchable it felt. I was planning on napping during this car ride but I couldn’t help but be looking outside at the magnificent puffs of white bliss that were so close to me. They were just cradled in the valley so lovely and peaceful.

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Anyway, we got to our really cool hotel, almost beats Ottovalo hotels we stayed in. This was old, old rooms with at least some space heaters but the keys were ancient looking that it was fun to carry around. They had a pool table area away from rooms but we were all pretty exhausted and went to bed. The next day was when we toured the ruins which were down the street from our place.

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As we arrived, Effy told us that many tourist don’t really stay in this town but maybe pass threw. But these ruins where really interesting. He told us how the Inca’s built was a special way because they did not use cement. It was called the canar stone technique or Inca almoadilado meaning like pillow shape. The green rocks billowed out like a pillow and fit perfectly next to each other.

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As we hiked to the top of them, the side of the biggest structure had these troughs of grass and Effy told us that they would grow corn on the side there and it would work like gutters for irrigation. So smart!!

Now I was listening to 70% of what Effy was saying because this was on of the places he said I could find cool rocks so I was the end of the group always with my nose looking at my shoes. BUT you know what, it paid off and I found some cool ancient rocks there.

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At the top, Noah was lucky enough to find the best find of the whole trip. He found a really cool black rock that at first I thought was obsidian — lava rock — cause it was shiny like it but it had these crazy lines. Later I found out it was epidote. SO COOL & shout out to Noah for sharing with me.

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We then hiked the rest of the Inca Trail. Along it we saw the big rock with the holes carved out of it which was call the moon clock. When the certain holes filled it told them what time of year it was and the best time for farming. Insane on how much they relied on chance as it presumes. Effy told us, when you think of the Incas, think of stones and places for bath because those these were very distinguished in their culture.

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He later went into how there was a revisor of water and they had many water rituals in their culture. Same with the moon clock, they relied on what the water told them. Effy told us that this was the only archaeological site like this in Ecuador — which is kind of a big deal.

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After we sweat our butts off with that hike, we headed on the bus again for about two hour bus ride to Cuenca. Now, as we drive on these long bus rides, Effy would talk for the first 15-30 minutes to give us some background of what we are driving threw and where were headed.

As we started our travel, Effy was pointing out all these big extravagant houses that were color and almost looked abandoned. Well.. They were. He told us, the people that owned these houses, built them just for status. They would go to the states, see these house they loved and come to their home country and build a replica that they “say” they will one day come back to Ecuador to live there. Most of the people migrated to New York or Chicago from Ecuador. It was crazy to be driving on these cliff sides and then see these mansions almost in this super urban area. Strange.

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Another fact Effy told us, was they just switched to American dollars in 2000 and it was a hard switch for them. Some people were only making $20 a week so they had to change somethings around. He also said the Cuenca is the most beautiful city of Ecuador. I would have to closely agree with him. I liked it a lot.

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Once we got there, we took a tour of the city and it started to DOWN POUR. We passed the church and they had a law that within certain radius, no building could be as tall as it. We were able to go in and WOW the marble everywhere was incredible. Huge pillars, tile floors of this rosy marble color with a mix of blues. It was wild and beautiful.

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Also being the coolest tour guide, took us threw the little flower shop area near the church and on the side they were selling this pink/magenta drink. He continues to explain it, its a drink that makes you sleep, he says. Than he proceeds with I had to do some research cause I didn’t understand why it made you sleepy. Here it was a drink made from the plant/flower that valium come from. So a bunch of us got a cup for .50 cents and drank it.

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It tasted really good and was kind of sweet. The effects were not crazy, I had a yawn here and there but we were walking about Cuenca so I couldn’t be tired.

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The rain put a little damper on the walk but we made it work and it let off a bit for us to head to the hat store where we learned how they weaved and molded hats. They were really cool but I don’t think in that moment realize how awesome they were until two of the girls bought them and they looked amazing on them. Also it was hand woven and just felt nice… I’ll just have to go back!!

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Highlights:

  • Finding the coolest rock ever — well shout to Noah for finding it!!
  • Staying in the coolest hotels and places in Ecuador — can’t believe Ingapirca topped Ottovalo about
  • Being as high as the clouds — I could almost touch them
  • Drinking a cool drink — I love how “natural” of valium that was, just straight from the plant

Downfalls:

  • Abandoned houses everywhere — such a waste of space although these people looked at it as a ranking or status
  • Raining in Cuenca — we made it threw, we were a tough group
  • Not getting a cool hat — they were really nice, I wish I did!!

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