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Friday, May 10, 2013

Places of Beauty


Awhile back, guests who rented one of my apartments while visiting, also hired me to drive them to Chordeleg (shor-deh-leg) for jewelry shopping and to the orchid nursery near Gualaceo (wall-uh-seh-oh).  I had been to the orchid store but never on the tour to see behind the scenes.  Well, WOW.  It's mind-boggling the colors and patterns of the blooms.  So artistic!!!   They even have giant orchids that don't need to be potted, or in any kind of matter...for that matter!  They're simply hung with all their roots dangling in mid-air and all they need is a daily spritz of water.    I don't get it.  HOW?

For a few bucks each we were led to the estate behind the store and entered the greenhouses where tiny seedlings were growing inside glass bottles laying on their sides.   Each of them were manually planted with long tweezers.   As we progressed from one greenhouse to the next, we could see the growth and the next stage where they were transplanted to allow more room.  After all the stages, we saw the end result...what you see in stores around the world.  All sizes from tiny to gargantuan.  My favorite was the wall of orchids where, walking along an outside sidewalk, the entire wall was filled with moss and all sorts of orchids inserted.

The setting was on a family estate.   We continued to walk into other gardens replete with aviaries, lots of hugable dogs, fruit trees, swimming pool, bougainvillea, and manicured lawns.

Enjoy the photos!

Pot-less orchids.  Look Ma, NO DIRT!!!

The infamous 'Monkey' orchid.  See the face?

Of course, I had to buy one.   This is the one I chose.

Think we'll just hang out...upside down.
A Park is Re-born

Among the many civil improvement projects planned, underway, and completed in Cuenca was the re-opening of Parque de la Madre last week after a major overhaul.  In a year and a half, they built an underground parking garage for 200 cars, gutted the above ground park and rebuilt it with a running track, outdoor exercise equipment, performance plaza, dual-use soccer and basketball court, kids play areas (which includes a zip-line!), new bathrooms, and plenty of greenspace and sitting areas.  Still in-progress is the new Planetarium 'theater'.

This 'new' park is just a block away from one of my short-term rental apartments and directly across the river that divides 'old town' from 'new town'.

Enjoy the photos!

A new bus stop.


Elevator lobby enclosure to 200 car sub-terranean garage.

Always gotta have Cuy!!!!   (guinea pig)

New bathrooms and dressing rooms accessible by wheelchairs, too.

Large statue dedicated to Jefferson Perez (of Cuenca).  He was the only Ecuadorian to win a medal in the Olympics.  I n 1996 he won the gold for race-walking, and in 2008 he won the silver.  A coliseum in Cuenca is named after him.

See the girl in the middle of the photo (wearing pink hat) riding the zip-line.

Translated:  The park is yours.  Take care of it!

Running track
Exercise equipment.  These clusters of machines are popping up in several other parks around Cuenca, too.

Creating my own beauty

Last, but not least, is my own beautification project at home.  No, I'm not talking about nip-n-tuck!!!   The yard at the house I rented in San Joaquin had never been landscaped before.   It had construction debris tossed everywhere, lots of rocks, and the dirt might as well have been rock!!!  I've had two dumptruck loads, a total of 16 square meters, of black dirt brought in and dumped.  I'm still working on the 2nd pile.  After cleaning up the yard, I began to spread the dirt to create a good bed for a new lawn.   Several trips to Paute, I have planted over 100 flowers and shrubs...though it certainly doesn't look like it.   I am a self-confessed Plant-aholic. "Hello, my name is Dano and I'm a Plant-aholic"   "HI DANO!!!!"

Lots more work to be done, but you can see the difference.

Enjoy the photos!


What I started with

After my shopping spree(s)

This is the first time I've successfully grown Calla Lillies!!!!

The result, after pulling out a bunch of overgrowth, stinging nettles, and weeds....then some pruning.   This geranium is over 4 feet tall!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing the photos of the amazing orchids. I have never seen a blue one. And being a plantaholic myself, I enjoyed seeing the transformation you have done to your place. Living in North East Texas, the geraniums never last past the first month of summer and we never have tropicals survive the winters. Please keep sharing your journeys.
    Texas Larry

  2. Enjoyed the pics, love the home front looking all festive and colorful. BTW it was great finally getting to meet you. Both Stu and I enjoyed it and learned a lot from chatting. Watch for us next December! WOOT~~~

  3. Dano,
    Again, thank you for taking the time to post about life in Cuenca. I am constantly surprised at the amount of effort and money you invest in the rental to make it your own. The results are amazing. You have a true talent. I want to do the terrace at my condo, and I know whom I'm going to go to for guidance.
    20 day's and counting, I'll see you soon.
    Stay Well,

  4. Nice Dano, you are not so angry when you find something to occupy your time.


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About Me

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Palma, Mallorca, Spain
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Spain, in the city of Palma on the island of Mallorca in the middle of the Mediterranean sea!! I moved from the USA to Cuenca, Ecuador, South America and lived there for 7 years before moving here to Spain in early 2018. To read about my adventures in Ecuador, check out my other blog "Ahhh Cuenca!!". I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live in Europe....across the pond.

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