Kate Paladin
March 7, 2014

A group of IES students took a trip to Cuenca (another Ecuadorian historical city) for the long weekend. We took a night bus there, but it was much shorter than anticipated. Honestly, I thought arriving in an unfamiliar city at 5am was a great adventure! We found a park to hang out, told stories and had multiple hours of quality bonding time.

Touring Cuenca

Unlike the trip there, the return bus ride took longer than expected. Upon arriving home (2 hours after I had told my host Dad I would), I was warmly greeted by my host parents who had stayed up waiting for me and served me a warm dinner even though I know they would have rather been in bed. I was reminded of how lucky I am to be living with such fabulous people!

Enjoying Cajas National Park

Aside from the long travel, we had a wonderful time! Cuenca is a beautiful city and we spent our first day exploring the many beautiful churches, free museums (every college students dream!) and ruins. Day 2 we headed off to Cajas National Park – I’m obsessed with nature/the outdoors and so the park was a dream come true! The landscape seemed to change every 5 minutes as we encountered lakes, mountains, forests, clearings etc. I think its actually one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. My last day, we celebrated Carnaval – a huge water fight that also includes lots of spray foam and paint. Unfortunately, I was afraid to pull my camera out with all the water, so I was unable to get good pictures.

Carnaval – so much more water & foam were headed our way!

On a side note, I ate octopus this weekend. Certainly not the most exotic food – others have tried cow stomach and cuy (guinea pig) – but I was proud of myself for eating it completely by choice. And it was delicious!

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Kate Paladin

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Kate Paladin and I&#39;m an Environmental Studies major, Math minor at Bates College. I am a research assistant studying lake ecosystems, volunteer in an elementary school classroom and perform Bollywood dance. Most people study Spanish and then decide to visit South America, but I did the reverse - after choosing Quito for study abroad, I took my first Spanish class! Although I have just 2 years of Spanish under my belt, I couldn&#39;t be more excited to study in Ecuador.</span></p>

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