Title: Cajas national park
Location: Cuenca, Ecuador
So, arriving in Cuenca late we checked into the Hostal Tinku where Mira(another Galápagos friend) was staying. After marveling at the spectacular noisiness of the place with the barking dogs and children we went for a brief excursion to get some food and thought "hmmm, this is a nice place".
In the morning we met up with Mira who was recovering from a rather nasty form of stomach bug and went for a walk via the Café Austria and the market - nothing to report there.
We will be taking some Spanish immersion classes in the next couple of days to improve our speaking abilities. I am looking forward to that.
A Real Panama Hat
As part of our sojourn we came across a marvelous shop - that of Alfredo Pulla, a hatter since the age of 6 (now in his 80s). He showed us to his upstairs showroom from the main shop downstairs (with hundreds of hats hanging from the ceiling - all being refurbished).
The particular type of hat in question is the Panama - origin of the name is a bit sketchy but it's widely accepted that they originated in Ecuador, and notably the city of Cuenca.
Panama Hat Info
Long story short, Nina bought me one of the finest quality hats and I now carry it with pride in my main bag. It's taking up quite a bit of room with its carry box (much like a cigar box) so I really should entrust it to the wonderfully efficient South American postal services soon.
We later went to the museum, and had a nice dinner that night.
The next day we went on a group hike around the Cajas national park (really great views), saw lots of bromiliads and paper trees and had trout for lunch.