Featured Post

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I Went for an Afternoon Drive... following the Yanuncay River to Barabon and Soldado!!

I've done this drive, following the Yanuncay (Yah-Noon-Cahee) river, a few times.  The road starts off near Cuenca's Tennis and Golf club.   I used to live just a mile or so from the entrance.  Some time ago, I hopped on my motorcycle to see where the road led.  I only went a few kilometers into the valley before I turned around because there were so many potholes to dodge!  But, I loved the scenery and the amazing number of one-lane wooden bridges that provided access to homes on the other side of the river.

Some time later, I decided to check it out again, this time in my car.  The road had been graded, so I ventured further, this time past Barabon (Bar-Ah-Bohn) and all the way to Soldado (Sohl-dah-doh)...both tiny villages in the middle of nowhere but beautiful-where.   There's only one way in and one way out.  A long haul to run to the market for a gallon of milk!!!

Last weekend, the weather was warm and gorgeous, so I called up my expat friends Reginald (Reg) and Cherry and invited them to join me along with Gracie (my dog) and their two large dogs Willie and Nillie.  Off we headed to the very Eden-like valley.

3 adults and 3 large dogs in the car.  I could tell you about Willie, but I won't.  Let's just say Willie may not be coming along next time!

Gracie and Nillie were great.  Willie, not so much.  Willie whined and snorted and grunted the whole way and couldn't make up his mind whether he wanted his head out the window or not, or to be on the right side of the car or the left side.  Cherry could barely notice the landscape outside because all she was doing was trying to manage Willie.   Finally, Reg switched places with Cherry and things calmed down....a bit.

Gracie, however, was the perfect dog.  Many times, when she goes for a ride with me, I almost forget she's in the car because she's so quiet.  She just sat in the back, not trying to crowd out the others in the seat in front of her.  Didn't pant, didn't whine, didn't slobber.....nada.  Did I mention she's perfect?

The 'Perfect One'

The road had been paved since the last time I took this route.  Well, the first half anyway.  Then came a section of horrible potholes, but luckily it didn't go on for long, then the road riverted back to dirt/gravel which was in pretty good condition.

The road follows the Yanuncay river which is one of 4 rivers that slice through Cuenca and ultimately merge into one as it leaves Cuenca and passes through our state-of-the-art water treatment plant.

Pedestrian bridge.

I'm a wohnwee twee.

Bet this place is hopping on a Saturday night!!!

The elevation rises ever so slightly the further you travel and the foliage gets shorter and dryer.

The church in beautiful downtown Soldado.  Just past this point is another guarded entrance to the Cajas National Park.

Every day is laundry day.  Hey, why use a clothesline when you have a barbed-wire fence?

We stopped to let the dogs out and explore some paths along the river.  Willie and Nillie love to play in water...Gracie, not so much.  You can see the dogs and Cherry wandering in the next photo while Reg tries to scare them by coming out of the bushes as Sasquatch (to the left of Cherry near the pile of wood).

Looks perfectly fine to me.  OSHA approved.

I often pose the question to visiting guests "Where do you think the rivers passing through Cuenca eventually end?"  Their answer 99% of the time is....the Pacific ocean.   NOPE!!!   The answer is (and it must be in the form of a question) "What is the Amazon?".

Just before Soldado is a natural thermal hotspring.   Pay a dollar and you can use very aged dressing rooms to change clothes and sit in a few small pools.   The water wasn't HOT like most thermal pools but it was warm.

Thermal pool directly in front of the walkway.

Along the way is this cool 'castle'.   Don't know if anyone lives in it or not.
The entire afternoon drive took maybe 3 hours which included the doggie stop and a brief stop in Soldado for some sugary snacks and covered maybe 25kms (15 miles) each way.

It was an easy-to-do, no planning needed excursion that got us out of Dodge and experience a hidden gem in our midst.

Til next time.....


For those of you who want to get 'out there' but don't own a car here, there's still hope for you.  Check out Cuenca Car Share online.  Juan and David have a handful of new/new-ish cars for rent at far less cost than renting from Avis or Budget and the like.  Their cars are ALREADY INSURED so there's no gouging on extra fees.  Regular tax (verus city tax, airport tax, user tax, special tax, and football stadium tax) is the ONLY tax.  Then, a small amount per KM.   It's a very affordable way to 'get up and get away' for a couple days, a week, or whatever.  Don't know your way around?  They can provide a GPS.  And, all you need is a valid drivers license (from wherever).  Oh, and they have a presence in Quito as well!

Click here to see Cuenca Car Share's website!!

Or...there's plenty of private drivers for hire here and many of them speak English.  Cost is about $12 an hour which includes their time, gas, wear/tear on car, waiting, etc.  Gringo Post is an excellent resource for finding drivers.  Just go to the website CLICK HERE and do a search for "driver".  You'll see many of them listed as recommendations by others who've used them before.  Using this forum helps to reassure you on reliability and safety concerns.

Get some friends together and split the costs!


  1. Your posts are making us miss Ecuador. Yes, Gracie IS perfect!

  2. Looks like a great outing. Since neither of us having driver's license, the rent-a-driver idea is a good tip. I hope we get to meet Gracie when we return.

  3. Hello Dano...I hope you remember Gordon and I . We met you and you drove around the area in2014 in May. We had just been at BobnRoxs for. Week. All your place s were full. We are now back in Bend Or. So how ar enough doing. I'm so glad you are back blogging again ! I was worried. For a while !!But we are finally ready to come back, we would like to come to Cuenca for 3 months then the coast for 3months to find the best spot to relocate. We do have small dog, Tebo . Would you know of any furnished apartment that would be cool with pet? Do you have any apts that would fit the bill? We would like a quite spot , may closes to a river? If you know a rental co or contacts tha t can help us out that would be so cool. Your Gracie is so cute !,! We have to meet her this time.we just lost or Katie a few weeks ago, so sad but she was the happiest doggie ever and sweet like Gracie! Thanks Virginia Crews

  4. I don't know how this works but here is my email vcrews97@yahoo.com

  5. Oops I guess you aren't a mind reader ...we are coming Dec 1 at or so !! Thank You


Wanna leave a comment? PLEASE DO!!

It's not very intuitive, so let me help you...
1. Write your comment
2. From the list of Comment As, just select Anonymous
3. If you want me to know who you are, simply type your name inside the comment box, at the end.
4. Press the Publish button
5. Click the box I'm Not a Robot
6. Press the Publish button again
7. If a 'test question' comes up, answer it and press the button
8. If you passed the 'test question' press Publish

About Me

My photo
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.

Total Views