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Monday, June 22, 2009

Loja Weekend

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Thursday Chuck and I caught the bus to Loja. This is about a 5 or 6 hour journey. It is less than 200 miles from Cuenca but Loja is in the Andes also. The roads are twisty and in some places in ill repair. This is being remedied as I post this....a nice concrete highway is being constructed but for our trip it mean't long construction delays. The bus also had a flat tire so we had to wait for that to be repaired. Needless to say it was a long bus ride.

We stayed in probably the nicest hotel in Loja - The Grand Victoria. We were having a delayed anniversary celebration since I poisioned us on our real anniversary. The hotel was very nice with all the amminities you could want. The reduced price was $85 per night...down from the $100 per night we thought we were going to be paying.

We spent Friday walking Loja. Loja has less than 200,000 people and it is very walkable. Like Cuenca, there are several rivers that run through Loja. One river has nice walking paths and we walked the entire distance to the edge of town.

The first picture is of the church on the main plaza.

Here is Chuck trying on hats. He did not buy one, but it was fun shopping.

We went to the university where they have a pottery factory. Chuck loved the ceramics and pottery. If we had not been traveling by bus this pot would be on our patio today. Chuck says he is going to rent a car and go to Loja on a pottery shopping adventure.

As we were taking our long river walk we came upon the market. Here is Chuck enjoying all the plants. They have many plants that we cannot grow well in Cuenca. The temperature is warmer in Loja.

We also explored the "gateway" to Loja. It is very interesting. It looks like it should be in Europe. You can climb up inside for some great views. They also had an art exhibit inside.

At the edge of town we went to a wonderful park called "Unidad Parque Recreacional Jipiro" The park had small replicas of famous international structures. They had an Effiel Tower, a mosque, an African hut and many others.

Here are some I photographed:

The lake had many beautiful swans. We rented a paddle boat and had a swan follow us all around the lake.

Here is Chuck with some of our Ecuadorian friends:

We spent Saturday in Vilcambamba and stopped in Saraguro on Sunday. I will share our experiences in these places next time.


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