My friends, Debi and David have asked me several times to join them in the climb to Mirador de Turi (Turi means "brother" in Quechua) and the commanding view of Cuenca. Finally, today I was able to go with them. They do this several times a week so I wasn't sure I was going to keep up with them as there are MANY stairs to climb. I have tried to find out on the internet how many stairs there are in total. What I have been able to find out, whether true or not, is that there are 96 stairs in the first section and 439 in the second. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I read there are 571 all together, guess I will have to see if I can verify the number.
We met at 9:00am and head up a short step hill before coming to the first set of stairs. When we got to the top of that first section, the climb wasn't as bad as I though. We then followed a narrow street before crossing over the autopista (highway 35) and on to the second section.
Then the challenge began. It was warmer and I was exerting myself more so I ended up taking more "photo op" stops this section. When we got to the top, me dripping wet and David and Debi hardly out of breath, we sat on a bench with the spectacular view of Cuenca below us. David said we made the climb in about 13 minutes. Their fastest time, going up without the "photo op" stops, was 8.5 minutes. Maybe someday...!
While sitting there they fed a couple dogs and gave them some water. Since they do this all the time they have made friends with the dogs and take food with them. Also while sitting there several groups of small school children came and looked through the telescope before being lead down to the amphitheater.
On the way down one of the dogs decided to follow us. We tried everything to make it stay; from bribing it with more food, set over by the children, to trying to flee down the stairs without it seeing us, but nothing worked. Finally we stopped about half way down and just sat hoping it would get bored and head back up. YES, that worked, he went up and around the corner. We waited a few minutes longer to make sure he wasn't coming back before staring back down. Within a few minutes Debi said she thought she heard him but since we didn't see him we just thought we were hearing things. Then, out of nowhere the dog came bounding down the stairs, leash and all.
We were heading to Mall del Rio and really didn't want the dog following us but he had other thoughts on his mind. David, Debi the dog and I got to the mall. They were going shopping so I bid them farewell and hopped on bus 7 for the ride home. Hopefully they lost the dog at the entrance to the mall.
Thank you David and Debi for the wonderful day. It won't be my last climb to Turi.