Category Archives: Ecuador

Fiesta Time in Ecuador

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People in the Republic of Ecuador celebrate the Fiesta de la Virgen del Cisne today in the city of Loja in the mountains of southern Ecuador. Sadly, I cannot make it there but, if she got there in time, our daughter Kilina will.

The city of Loja is one of the oldest cities in Ecuador and was established in its current location in 1548. It was the first city in Ecuador that made use of electricity in 1897; quite an achievement considering the time. 

Loja has an estimated population of 150,000 people and is particularly proud of its music conservatory. It is said that the best, most talented musicians in Ecuador originate from Loja. Some people call Loja the cultural and musical capital of this Andean nation.

The best known attraction to visit Loja for, however, is the festival of the Virgen del Cisne. What’s that all about?

North west of the city of Loja you’ll find the place of El Cisne, a small town in Ecuador’s Southern Andes, the site of the venerated shrine of the Virgen María

Every August there is a three day pilgrimage of faithful Ecuadorians carrying the statue of La Virgen del Cisne from El Cisne to Loja with fiestas in every town along the way. The statue of the Virgin Mary is carried 74 kms to the cathedral of Loja where it is the focus of one of the oldest festivals in Latin America on September 8th, i. e. today. 

 

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The venerated statue remains in the cathedral of Loja until November 3rd and is then returned to El Cisne for the remainder of the year. 

We expect our daughter to be back long before that.

 

Ecuador is Waiting

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Our daughter, Kilina is about to embark on another journey of a lifetime. This time next week she will be on an Iberia plane from Madrid to Quito, Ecuador, where she will spend three months over the Summer, working as a volunteer at the National Park of the splendid Cotopaxi volcano at an altitude of 4,400 m. The invitation is courtesy of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.

Kilina’s employer will be Tierra del Volcán.

Here is some information from their website: “Tierra del Volcán functions in one of the most beautiful and privileged places in Ecuador, Cotopaxi, considered the highest active volcano in the world. Tierra del Volcán has three haciendas available in the foothills of different volcanoes that surround majestic Cotopaxi, each with its own magic, ecosystem and distinctive climate. With us you will be lodged in fascinating hacienda houses and experience the adrenaline rush of living an adventure with experts who will share unforgettable moments with you. A broad range of activities are available: Horseback riding, mountain biking, trekking, hiking, mountain climbing, rappelling, bird watching, camping, cultural experiences, and more.”

We expect Kilina to start a new blog on her latest journey soon, telling us in detail about her South American adventure. Here is a link to her new blog.

 

By the way, a bank note like the one shown below of 10,000 Sucres won’t be enough to pay for Kilina’s bus fare from the airport to downtown Quito. 10,000 Sucres is the equivalent of approx. 0,40 USD. Imagine you wanted to buy a bus. That might set you back by 2,505,017,200 Sucres. Not many people have a pocket calculator big enough to convert that into Pounds or Euros. Okay, not many people actually want to buy a bus, either. At least not in Ecuador.

 

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P. S. After Kilina having arrived in Quito, it transpires – according to her – that Ecuador has given up its currency, the Sucres, and is using the US American greenbacks only. The transition between currencies obviously has been a difficult time for everybody and your average Quito person. The cost of living has apparently gone up phenomenally. I imagine that this is even more of a problem in the less affluent provinces. That makes buying your average bus even more expensive.

 

In Ecuador, that is.