Wednesday, 19 November 2014

0141 Guayaquil to Ingapirca

8th Nov 
When we checked out in the morning, we found we didn’t have to pay anything for parking the car for the past 6 days, so the added expense of staying in the nicer Holiday Inn instead of a local hotel was more than justified.  So we left with a smile on our faces.  Right outside the hotel, on the road, were a group apparently having a picnic !   We were so surprised – No one Picnics down here – They all eat at roadside restaurants  So we had to take a photo !!

We headed out of Guayaquil and made our way south east, back down the same road by which we had entered Guayaquil a week earlier – Yes, the delightful (ugly) towns of El Triunfo and La Troncal !!   We found out later that the many tree plantations we were passing were Cacao – Chocolate. We had been puzzled as to what these broadleafed trees were for some time.

Shortly after we got to Zhud, where there had been pigs being cooked everywhere a week ago – And sure enough they were there again – They must do it every weekend.  This time we stopped ad bought some – And it was pretty good.  Bit salty, and friend in goodness knows what, and in our little takeaway dish was also some steamed as well as some fried corn kernels – The fried ones being more like popcorn.  The corn (maize) here is nothing like our corn on the cob at home – It is much bigger, and not nearly as sweet or juicy, but OK in small doses.  So off we went on new roads, heading south, and munching on our barbecued pig !!  And wondering how our stomachs would hold up to this delicacy !!

Then it was up, up, up, over 3000 metres again, and we were heading to a place called Ingapirca – Apparently the most important archaeological site in Ecuador.  We turned off the main road in Tambo and followed a little country road further up into the mountains, past people ploughing in steep hillside fields with oxen and a wooden plough while the wife sowed seed by hand, and finally arrived in Ingapirca.   We went into the information centre and paid for a tour (1/2 price for being old !!) and asked about camping there.  No problem – Anywhere in the car park !!  Perfect.  So although it was only about 1 pm we decided to view the ruins at leisure, and then have a quiet afternoon and evening before heading south tomorrow.

The Inca ruins at Ingapirca are amazing.  We had a guide Manuel and despite a little rain, had a most enjoyable afternoon at the site.  The local Canares people have been here for centuries, and when the Incas arrived they fought them for 10 years, trying to subdue them – To no avail.  Eventually they made a peaceful settlement, and these ruins show the result of that, with the square buildings of the Incas moulded smoothly in with the curved designs of the Canares people.  The spirituality of the site is quite special, especially when our guide was making vibrations that we could hear just by rubbing on the walls in the temple section.  And all the paths and doorways are aligned with the sun so they are in perfect harmony with the rays of the sun on several auspicious days of the year.  An amazing architectural feat so many centuries ago, and the similarity between the local customs and myths here and those of the Aborigines in Australia and also Indians is so close that it is hard to believe that they didn’t all come from the same origins. After our walk round the ruins, we went to a local café and had some local coffee and a local sugar cane drink. We then went for a stroll along the Inca Trail that goes for several kilometres around the hills, but to do the whole thing at 3000 metres was a little beyond us – We were breathless after a 10 minute hike up a steep hill !

As the relatively small crowds thinned, (it was a Sunday afternoon so quite a lot of locals had been there for a day’s outing), Janet struck up a conversation with a chap called Mesias who was being head butted by a sheep that he had on a rope.  It turned out that Mesias lived in Cuenca, but had grown up around Ingapirca and seemed to have so many relatives in the area !  Even the guard on the car park for the night was his cousin ! Mesias had also been collecting grass for his cuys, and eventually they bundled sheep and grass into the back of his Landcruiser and set off back to Cuenca. He had invited us to drop in on him the next day as we passed through Cuenca.

Meanwhile, as the sun went down over the Inca ruins, we had our supper, and at 3200 metres ASL, the cold night required our warm sleeping bags and liners, but it was very special to have our supper and go to bed in such a significant place in local history – More so because apart from the guard on the gate, we were the only people there !

Photos here

1 comment:

  1. Wow ... no other comment would make sense ... amazing.
    Life at 3000 metres is so great ... if you can breathe.