Some good friends of ours recently emailed us asking if we'd like to accompany them on a day trip to Giron. I replied, "Never heard of it. Sure!" Such is life here.
When I learned we were going on a bus, visions of the #16 flashed before my eyes, one of which started twitching uncontrollably. I decided to "get back on the horse" anyway--at least we knew where this one was going.
Our traveling companions said the bus terminal was next to a place called El Feria Libre, so we were to meet them there. When we stepped out of our cab we found ourselves in what can only be described as a "chaotic zoo." This area has a huge market that was swarming with people. The road in front of it is under construction and torn all to hell. There were buses, cars, and taxis galore, blowing horns and seemingly all trying to occupy the same space at the same time. Thrown into the mix were folks right out there with all the vehicles pushing juice carts, carrying huge baskets of god-knows-what on their backs, hawking merchandise---and we were casually supposed to "meet them out front??"
That turned out to be surprisingly easy because in the midst of all this madness the four of us were the only gringos in sight. So now united we boarded a very roomy and comfortable bus (never did see the "terminal"), forked over a buck apiece, and were off to Giron, a 40 minute ride from Cuenca.
Giron is the gateway to the gorgeous Yunguilla valley and home to some outstanding waterfalls, all of which we were there to enjoy. We got off the bus in what seemed like the middle of nowhere and started trudging up a steep road with no waterfalls in sight--in fact, with no people, vehicles, or end in sight! Oh, boy------.
Happily a small pickup soon approached and the driver offered to take us to the top for $5. Done. There wasn't room for us all in the passenger area so our friends gamely climbed in the back and away we went Beverly Hillbillies style. W-e-e----doggies!
Our destination was indeed the entrance to El Chorro de Giron, a highly creative name which translates as "The Waterfalls of Giron." We were fortunate that the girl working there spoke excellent English and, since curiously no printed maps were available, drew us one on a paper napkin.
Over the next several hours of sometimes arduous hiking we learned that her excellent English had failed to convey that we were actually journeying to the top of the falls. And that the bottom of said falls was a mere 10 minutes from where we started.
Nevertheless we all were so happy we soldiered on. In exchange for temporary exhaustion our bountiful rewards were gorgeous weather,incredible scenery, and great companionship.
After another pickup truck ride back to town we climbed aboard what looked like an episode of "Pimp My Bus." Check out this bad boy. Since the driver appeared to be around 12 years old, "Jesus, Take the Wheel" was in my head the whole way back.
So for a total of about $8 apiece (including a gigantic beer after the hike) we had a phenomenal day and created a wonderful memory. I'm happy to share it with you.