Casa Ordonez-Just Like the Good Ole Days

I often receive social media posts in regard to how it used to be, when I was a child and growing up. Most of us yearn for a different time when things in the world were more stable and interaction with others brought smiles rather than grimaces. Kim and I were fortunate recently, to “go back in time” and experience a boutique hotel in Cuenca Ecuador named Casa Ordonez. The building that houses the …

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Graffiti in Cuenca is Art

I have had this discussion with many individuals and the line is usually drawn between age groups. I personally think that some of the graffiti in the world is magnificent art and have always felt this way. I promised a blog on Cuenca graffiti and here goes!

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Living La Vina

I know. I know. Its not “Living La Vina”, but “Living La Vida”. I felt compelled to use the wordplay. My apologies to Ricky Martin. In a way when you visit La Vina in Cuenca you are living the life!

The first thing that happened on our initial visit was Monica, one of the wonderful owners approached me, gave me a hug after I mentioned I had been there before and talked with Eugenio, her husband. She stated Mi Casa es Su Casa and I know she really meant it!

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A Taste of Luxury

Upon our return trip from Cuenca to Austin, Kim and I stayed at the Hotel Oro Verde in Guayaquil again. Upon check-in, we were given warm, mint scented towels and fresh juice to take away the humidity and heat of the city. This time we stayed in the Oro Verde Suite and were delightfully surprised at the glamorous and stately attributes of the suite.

We met and talked with Mr Xavier Polastri, the “Gerente de Recepcion” or the Front Desk Manager. Not only was …

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El Chorro de Giron Waterfall

Earl and Max decided to tour this waterfall and three towns surrounding Cuenca. The towns specialize in certain crafts. It is more economical if you can share these tours and we discussed tagging along. They agreed to let us accommodate them. We were not sorry we went along. Its about a hour ride from Cuenca and you stop at the Battle of Tarqui National Monument, dedicated to the brave 4,000 men, who defeated the 8,000 Peruvian soldiers, to liberate Ecuador.

The battle was February 27, 1829. It is located near the town of Tarqui. There are 73 steps leading to the top. An interesting tidbit. …

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Tiesto’s is Still Magnifico!!!

We walked into this great restaurant and proceeded to locate the host. He was in the back and asked if we had a reservation. I communicated the time and confirmed our reservation. A young lady server sat us in an area populated by Ex-Pats. I originally wanted Langostinos, which is my favorite dish in Cuenca. Kim did not cherish the thought of eating prawns, so I deviated and chose beef instead. Kim desired fish.

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Our Lady of the Mist Cathedral

This Iglesia is actually built into the side of a mountain and is over 100 years old. It is very striking as you drive up the mountain and imposing in its own way. It must have been difficult to carry the materials needed to this cathedral for construction.
As we ventured up the plethora of steps I was reminded of the hill behind Ingapirca and how Kim, our new friends Earl and Alex, and …

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Making My Own Birthday Dinner

If you will recall I was scheduled to attend a Longhorn baseball game at the Disch on my birthday with my middle son. He fell sick with what I would guess was food poisoning from our dinner out the night before. A bad case of Lobster being mishandled. At least that is our guess.

I know how to cook fairly well and decided that I wouldn’t let the “Curve Ball” get me down and would make the most out of my day by cooking one of my favorites and my family’s favorites. Chicken Enchilada’s …

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Making Memories

The alarm came early and we both bolted out of bed with gusto. After all we were on our way to Ecuador finally and we both felt giddy with excitement. We got to the airport in Austin in plenty of time. Thank goodness, as the security lines were horrible. Easy breezy and we were at the gate with an hour to spare. Flights to DFW and Miami went off with no hitches.

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How Much Does Your Underwear really Weigh???

Today Kim and I were talking about getting our luggage out of the rafters in the garage and starting the process of loading our suitcases. The conversation turned to underwear and Kim’s needs.

Kim: Can we wash clothes while we are in Cuenca?
Me: There are no facilities in the hotel, but I am sure we can find an inexpensive laundry near by. Why do you ask?
Kim: I don’t think I have enough underwear.
Mike: So…Why don’t you go buy some? They can’t weigh that much. Besides you can not take …

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Texas Quiche

I needed a couple of pounds of sausage and all I had was maple flavored. What the heck. I tried it any way and it turned out delicious. I improvised and used parts of a recipe I found on line for quiche. Used more sausage (2 pounds not 1.5 pounds), cut up a whole onion to cook with the meat. None was called for. I like the flavor!

While the meat was browning I greased two 9″ pie pans and placed corn tortillas in the bottom to work as the crust (4 per pan with …

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Why I Want to Travel

“In Africa a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon and you have no more respect for it than for the lovely, perfect weed-fringed lake you see across the sun-baked salt plain. You have walked across that plain in the morning and you know that no such lake is there. But now it is there absolutely true, beautiful and believable.” Ernest Hemingway

People ask me why do I want to travel and log long hours on planes with tight seats, dirty restrooms, barely edible food and arrive exhausted? Not to mention ..

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Sometime Life Throws You Curve Balls

I have loved baseball, since my father introduced me to the game at the age of seven years old. I think it is one of the most misunderstood, complex institutions in the universe and one can only covet its capacity for strategy. Every pitch, every ball hit has a multitude of mental transactions, that transpire prior to the toss.

Most individuals think it is a boring and slow moving sport, without merit or gaudy celebrations capitalizing on instant gratification. Most people do not realize the depth of intellect that is necessary to navigate through the …

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Bread Baking and Flour Paws

Who in the world doesn’t really love fresh baked bread. The aromas and salivating initial tastes, are among the best flavors in the cooking cosmos. Today I am writing my first blog and sharing a Christmas present, my wife gave me, from “Make it Sweet”, in Austin Texas.
It was a Bread …

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Surfing USA

I have been considering participating in Couch Surfing for some time. The majority of the surfers are of the younger generations. I wasn’t sure if anyone except the occasional individual with no luck locating a couch, would really desire to stay with us and use an inflatable air mattress as their bed. I was very wrong and have stumbled upon a media site that is more “social” in nature than some sites I have been on for years.

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Ingapirca at My Feet

As we drove up the rocky road, the historical site loomed ahead and obviously was significant to observe. I missed this Incan ruin last time and was not about to bypass it again, given the opportunity. Alberto, our host at the Casa Ordonez, invited us to go with Earl and Max of Ohio, first thing Saturday morning. I jumped at the chance. The first settlers of this majestic mountain and valley were the Canari, who still have descendants, that …

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The Road to Cuenca

Getting ready for this experience a second time in nine days!!!

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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas



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