After being informed that our contracts ended early, we decided it was time to take a break and relax at our place in Cuenca. It had been about five years since we last visited, so we spent the first couple of months doing apartment renovations. We will not bore you with the details, but we gave the place a face lift and its now much more comfortable.
Just as the last bit of work was being finished, Becky’s parents joined us and we actually got out and did a few activities. Our first outing was to the area near Cuenca known as ‘Baños’. This area is popular because, due to past volcanic activities, there are hot springs galore that have been tapped into, and mineral spas have been built around those springs. This area was a nice way to relax and get rejuvenated after all the housework.
Next we made a trip to Vilcabamba, which is known as the ‘valley of longevity’ with many locals living to be well over 100 years old. The valley is amazingly beautiful and makes a great getaway for some hiking, horseback riding, yoga or just some lazy relaxation.
Lastly, we were also able to celebrate Carnival in Cuenca with the locals. The city hosts a lively parade and everyone has lots of fun dousing one another with water and foam spray. It is quite the event to experience. Some cheeky locals get an early start a few days before the actual Carnival by squirting unknowing pedestrians with water guns and pouring buckets of water from balconies. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! We saw lots of gringos stocking up on water guns in the days leading up to the festivities, ha ha.
Three months was just enough time for us to take care of necessary renovations and have some time for exploring and relaxation. We plan to use the apartment as an annual base for our travels, and are also looking into applying for residency and citizenship in the near future. Viva Ecuador!