Sunday, May 31, 2015

4 City Tour: Gualaceo, Chordeleg, Sigsig and San Bartolome

Since we spent so much of our first year here getting settled and not doing much sightseeing, we are trying to visit someplace new (and outside Cuenca) most months. May 29th we went on a four city tour given by our friend Emilio Morocho. He was also our guide on the March day trip involving tequila, friends and water fun!

CAUTION: Photo intensive blog! You can see all the pictures we took in our SmugMug album.

Our friend Joanne spearheaded that trip, this time around it was our turn. We managed to keep 30 people signed up and by nine am on Friday, we were headed out. Emilio decided to reverse the order of the trip so we started in San Bartolome, known for making guitars. Here are some photos from our stop at one of the shops. I bought a basket, a woven pitcher and a flat mat, all for $4.50. Oh, and two folks bought guitars while there - for under $150 each! The guitars can go up to $800!

We also took time to enjoy the friendly Basset Hound, cat and children.

Our next stop was SigSig and the Panama hat factory. Did you know that Panama hats have never been made in Panama? Nope, they are made in Ecuador and exported. Several hats were sold, some of us opting for the $5 pile for fun.

Soon it was time for lunch and we headed to Chordeleg, the town famous for sterling silver jewelry, especially the specific chandelier type of earring. We stopped first for lunch, a good almuerzo with a potato soup first, followed by rice, a few veggies and grilled chicken, topped of with juice and finished with a sweet dessert. Oh, and the hosts were kind enough to bring out a cake for the birthday of one of our group! After lunch folks shopped and walked. I bought three cute little tin plates to hang on our wall, another $12.

From there we proceeded to our last stop. We visited a weaver who works his skills the old way. All the colors come from natural ingredients, all the designs are done by tie-dying (not what you think) and then hand knotting and fingernail designing. It was amazing. Several scarves and shawls were purchased, I opted out already having enough of both.

We were supposed to visit the orchid farm last but they were closed to the public for spraying. Several had hoped to visit the leather workers but time ran out. I suspect there will be another trip just to Gualeco to see the orchids and the leather!

Ciao for now!
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