Orchids Are Red, Orchids Are Blue . . .

or “If you go to Gualaceo, you can see them too”

Recently we made a trip to the nearby town of Gualaceo for a tour of the Ecuagenera Orquideas Del Ecuador.  This was not our first trip through Gualaceo as it is quite near Cuenca (37 km) and on the way to other towns we have visited such as Chordeleg, Sig Sig, and San Bartolemé. Cuenca to Gualaceo

But we had never had the opportunity to tour the huge orchid nursery in this small city of 42,000.  I would say that the orchid farm is the jewel of this small city dubbed “The Garden of Azuay” (its province).

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For $3, one can have a guided tour in Spanish or English.  We learned that there are over 4,200 species of naturally occurring orchids in the country of Ecuador.   Ecuagenera raises 3,500 of those species in addition to another 3,500 hybrid orchids that they have developed.  All orchids have 3 petals and 3 sepals which are often mistaken for petals (guilty!)

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Each of these jars has about 15 germinating orchids. They are transplanted several times. The skill of the technicians is amazing as they have a 80 percent survival rate through this process.

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Here are some photos of orchids that Ecuagenera has in their gardens in Gualaceo.  For more information, check out www.ecuagenera.com or, like I do, Wikipedia!

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The gardens of Ecuagenera are peaceful and beautiful.  Here are some of the residents.

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And some of the visitors:

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Although the orchid nursery was the highlight of this day trip to Gualaceo, we also enjoyed visiting the weavers at La Casa de la Makana.  The weavers use wool, cotton and silk and only natural materials for the dyes in their textiles.

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And in other news . . .

A few weeks ago, we had the great pleasure of hosting our second set of visitors since we’ve lived here.  We were so glad that Elisa, Jorge and Blanca made Cuenca their first stop on their grand tour of Ecuador.  We met these intrepid travelers when we were in Spain last February.  Elisa was a part of the Diverbo program (see blog post #16 “Diverbo Pueblo Inglés-La Alberca, Spain”) and she introduced us to Jorge and Blanca.

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Blanca (rear) lives in Valencia; Jorge lives in Barcelona; and Elisa lives in Tenerife, Canary Islands. Here we are just about to embark on our double decker bus tour of Cuenca.

We enjoyed showing our Spanish friends some of the places we know well (El Centro, New and Old Cathedral, Ingapirca) and explored some new places, too, like Lake Llaviucu in the Cajas National Park.

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The best view of the domes of the New Cathedral in Cuenca.
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View of the New Cathedral from the Double Decker Bus.
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We took the $2 tour of the New Cathedral which takes you not only through the main part but to the crypt and towers as well. This is looking down one of the towers.
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View of Parque Calderón from the towers of the New Cathedral.

 

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View of the inside of the Old Cathedral from the choir loft
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The very old, misused, and abused organ in the Old Cathedral.

I just love Ingapirca (Cañari and Incan ruins)!

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We had a great, if a bit wet, walk around Lake Llaviucu in the Cajas Mountains thanks to our friend Ken March’s guidance.  The trailhead is only about 10 miles outside of Cuenca.  The trick is to get a taxi to take you all the way to the parking lot.  Our taxi driver didn’t want to get his car dirty so we had to walk an extra 3 km!

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This is an old brewery built sometime in the last century Lake Llaviucu. It is no longer in operation. There was too much water on the trail after four days of rain so we couldn’t get all the way around to the brewery on our hike.

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One of our four lovely rivers – Rio Tomebamba – with the lovely Elisa!
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Thanks to our great neighbors and friends, Greg and Brenda, all three of our guests had beds and bathrooms to use during their stay. Our last night together we had a fun game of 10,000.

In case you’re ready to make your reservation at “Casa de Gano de Cuenca”, operators are standing by.  Our daughter Kathleen will be visiting the second half of September and then my sister Inta will be here at the end of October for a couple of weeks.  Other than that, we’re wide open, and we’d love to show you our town, too!

What We’ve Learned:  More about orchids than I wrote about!

What We Need To Learn:  How to write about our daily life in an interesting way.  I do hope that will be our next post because we actually don’t go on day trips all that often!

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14 thoughts on “Orchids Are Red, Orchids Are Blue . . .

  1. I love your friend-logs whether you are exploring other places or inviting us into your community and home. I forward your stories to my 94 year old dad that way we are both seeing new sights through your eyes. You are a wonderful story teller and the photographs perfectly accompany your narratives. Thank you so much!

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    1. Thanks so much for your very kind comments! I love writing this blog and it is very gratifying to know that you enjoy it. Thanks for forwarding it on to your father, too.

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      1. You should have ….I assume they make their living by what they were doing??

        Should charge admission and refund it when you buy something.

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  2. I love orchids! Thank you for sharing your adventurous life with all of us. I enjoy reading your blog and viewing all the photos. You are enticing many of us to come for a visit. 🙂

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