These last posts of 2015 will close out our walking adventures around Ecuador for the year. Looking back, you will see monthly posts of our walks and all the little adventures we have enjoyed. We have walked in Cuenca, Quito, some small towns, the Coast...never boring or a dull moment for us!
We will continue walking our beautiful Ecuador, so we hope you stay tuned in 2016.
Happy New Year!
For our fellow gardeners, here is what blooms in the Cuenca area in December. We have no snow or extreme seasons at any time of year here, even though there are small variations in the weather. December is the beginning of our Summer in this hemisphere.
More fun street art.
Christmas decorations are more commercial and lots more choices for purchase than when we first arrived several years ago. No live Christmas tree farms or lots, all trees are artificial. Still lots of Christmas music, including Frosty the Snowman in English for the children.
One of our favorite nativity scenes. Located at the San Francisco market, vendors from Otavalo create the nativity each year. Interesting and creative folk art, not much to scale, but stunning in the simple beauty.
Most families still celebrate the traditional religious side of Christmas, with nativity scenes in homes and public areas, big family gatherings over a meal (may now include turkey if they can afford it), Church services, some simple gift-giving (with exceptions, depending on the economy). Lots of music and fireworks during the Season.
In years past, we have gone very early Christmas Eve morning to the staging areas for the annual parade. There we could see the finishing touches of decorations on the floats, see the little kids getting dressed in their outfits, enjoy the horses and other animals, hear the Dads chatting away over a cup of coffee and a tamal and maybe a card game...
This year we got a later start. We stopped for breakfast with friends, wandered toward the parade route catching up with more friends... This year the parade was already in progress when we caught up with it late morning and the crowds were huge, several people deep around the Square.
Still fun! We tippy-toed to see the participants. You could hardy see the difference between the parade and the spectators, it all blended together. Police were trying their best with some barricades, but the happy crowd was barely contained. The dancers could hardly move. Hard to get good pictures, but we got some. The crowd shots were easier to get.
A drone flying along the route.
At one point, there was a long break in the parade. You could see a giant white, very spirited horse with a girl with huge wings and carrying a very tall star coming. She was leading the section of the parade with military flatbed trucks. As they got closer, the horse got more nervous and the police presence got thicker. We were amazed the beautiful rider was the picture of poise and calm...with a tight grip on the reins. She definitely was an experienced rider.
When the horse kicked his hind legs, we thought it was time for us move on...The diesel fumes from the idling trucks was kind of overpowering, too. So, we had a cup of coffee in a nearly café and took a break.
We saw more parade later. Easy to do as the parade lasts several hours.
Resting at the Square.
The big parade is actually a procession of smaller parades and many of these smaller parades, representing different churches, families, schools and other groups and communities, have their own parades from before Christmas, all the way up to Carnaval. Lots of opportunities to see adorable children all dressed up in holiday outfits. Some are Biblical characters, some clowns and animals, some in traditional dress and more. Usually lots of music and dancing, too.
Our famous Christmas Eve Parade is probably the biggest in Latin America and folks from all over the world come to see it. We feel lucky we can experience the fun, right here in our back yard!