It’s funny how you can travel to a country, and have no idea what to expect. I feel like that’s how it’s been this far. To be honest, I hadn’t even heard about the country Ecuador. I’d heard about Peru because of the Machu Picchu, Brazil because of the olympics, Colombia because of the coffee, Argentina because of the beautiful girls and Venezuela because of the war that’s ongoing. And with no expectations for Ecuador, the experiences that I’ve had have obviously been outstanding.
One day, my host here in Cuenca recommended me to go see Ingapirca. I said: “Ingapirca? Like is this a place where I could learn about Inca history?” She said that it was, and I said: “Why not? I’ll go there!” Sunday I went there for a day trip with my private guide and friend Carlos. We drove through the city of Cuenca, through towns that led to tiny villages. In one of the villages we could see a church that was basically on/in the mountain side. A very beautiful church called Basilica De Biblián built in 1901, if I’m right. After climbing the stairway, we got to see the view from the church as well, which always is my favourite part.
Outside the church catholics were standing in line to wash their hands before entering the church. I recognised have families went together to church – grandmothers, mothers and daughters – and it was quite astonishing to see their way of clothing. The grandmothers wore these traditional Ecuadorian outfits, the mothers wore something in between traditional and modern, while the young daughters at my age wore western clothes (while looking at their phone). Seems like this is a trend all over the world, that young people now get influenced by the Internet, and as a result the uniqueness of each country, I guess, will disappear, slowly but surely.
After visiting the church, we tried some traditional hot drink with Ecuadorian blueberries as well as a bun. Delicious! When we headed towards Ingapirca I couldn’t bare but ask the guide to stop for me to try one of the many porks along the road. Eating pork or guinea pigs seems to be quite a thing over here in South America, especially Ecuador. I mean, these porks are everywhere! My guide told me that the pork is shown for commercial for a day before it is slaughtered the next day. I haven’t eaten meat in a long while because I’m turning vegetarian, but in this scenario when traveling, I had to try.
Finally, after a two hour drive, we arrived at Ingapirca. Ingapirca is a town, and the older Inca ruins and archeological site which we visited is nearby. This area had long been settled by the Cañari indigenous people, who called it Hatun Cañar. As the Inca Empire expanded into southern Ecuador, the Incas encountered the Cañari tribe. The Incas had difficulties in conquering them, so he used different political strategies, like marrying the Cañari princess and improving the Cañari city.
The Inca and Cañari decided to settle their differences and live together peacefully. The Temple of the Sun is the most significant building whose partial ruins survive at the archeological site. It is constructed in the Inca way without mortar, as are most of the structures in the complex. The stones were carefully chiseled and fashioned to fit together perfectly. It was positioned in keeping with their beliefs and knowledge of the cosmos. Researchers have learned by observation that the Temple of the Sun was positioned so that on the solstices, at exactly the right time of day, sunlight would fall through the center of the doorway of the small chamber at the top of the temple.
As a result of seeing this archaeological site, I got very fascinated by the fact that the Incas built these constructions in around 1500, and that the constructions are still here. Now I’m considering to visit Machu Picchu in Peru as well. This is exactly why I feel lucky to not have any travel schedule. I can get inspired and go to whatever place I’d like to visit. That to me, is beautiful.