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last day on the mainland


View Ecuador & Galapagos ... me gusta mucho! - 2015 on Ils1976's travel map.

A good night’s rest really can do miracles and somehow I must have been more tired than I initially thought coz I didn’t even hear our alarm clock go off at 6 AM. So instead of jumping out of bed like yesterday, I just snoozed for a little while till it was actually time to get out of bed and as soon as I got dressed and put all my stuff in my luggage, I was more than curious how this day would end.

Just like yesterday, breakfast was not something to boast about, but the hotel owner did his best and besides yet again giving us some stale bread, he offered us a freshly squeezed juice as well as scrambled eggs, so I cannot say that he didn’t tried!

Promptly at 8 AM we left Cuenca behind us and as soon as we were on the road again, we were in for quite a drive. Our main goal for today was Guayaquil where we should arrive late this afternoon, but not before we had one last view on Las Cajas National park. We had a quick photo stop at the viewing point of "Tres Cruzes" and unlike yesterday, the weather today was extremely cold, but than again, maybe the altitude of more than 4100 meters could have something to do with things as well and as soon as I had one last look at the beautiful lakes and mountains, I hurried inside the bus again where it was warm and cozy.

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Back on the road again, we went for a drive of nearly 3 hours and although we past through loads of interesting villages, I somehow lost the fight against mr. sleep and dozed off, only to wake up again when we had our first technical stop at a local gas station. As soon as I got out, I was surprised to notice that the cold and dry climate I was used to during the last week, had changed into wet and humid atmosphere and I don’t exactly can say that I liked that!

Luckily it was but a short stopover and as soon as we were all back in the bus, some of us with more than enough snacks to secure the second part of our drive, we were only an hours drive away from our lunch place at a small cacao plantation.

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Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by the family and instead of going for lunch straight away, we first had a small walk on the plantation where we learned more about the plant itself as well as the product. Being a Belgian, I know all about chocolate and of course I can say I am a little bit addicted to it and why shouldn’t I be, it is the most delicious thing there is, but when you see the cacao beans and the process how it is turned into rough chocolate, that is something entirely different and I don’t even mind the fact that there is some kind of rotting process involved … I am still proud to be a chocoholic!

After the little presentation of the cacao bean, we were invited for lunch which was nothing to classy but it was just really good. At first there was a bit of a misunderstanding since I am allergic to seafood. Don’t get me wrong I love eating fish, but I cannot eat shellfish without a trip to the hospital and as the dish of the day was shrimps with rice and something more, I sadly enough had to refuse it. The man of the house seemed a bit disappointed and thought I didn’t like his food, which wasn’t the case and thanks to the better knowledge of Spanish from my buddy, she was able to explain why I couldn’t eat it and although I had to wait for quite a while, even thinking that I had to skip lunch all together, they made a vegetarian dish just for me … how sweet and with a big smile on my face I told them their food was awesome, which it really was!

Sadly enough, we couldn’t stay at the plantation for ever, so as soon as we were all ready to leave, we went back on the bus for our last stretch of the road, all the way to the largest city of the country … Guayaquil, where we arrived about 2 hours later. As soon as we arrived at our hotel, we first got a bit of time for ourselves and although it sounded really appealing to go for that shower, I just instead went for a change of clothes … out with the long trousers and in with the shorts … it was just such a change to go from cold to hot, but than again … I am not complaining at all!

Guayaquil is besides the largest city of the country, the most densely populated one as well and as soon as you arrive at the city, you know that the Wikipedia writers weren’t wrong. Upon our arrival in the late afternoon, we first had a short walk through the small park across our hotel, which is known for its iguanas before Manuel took us to the Santa Ana Hill from where you have an awesome view on Guayaquil. It is a bit of a challenge to walk the stairs, but the atmosphere on the hill is just so nice that for some reason I didn’t even believed that Guayaquil is also known as a dangerous place. Maybe that explains why at the tourist spots there are so many police officers and guards walking around, where there is smoke …

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Going down from the Santa Ana Hill, we walked most of the boulevard or Malecon as it is called in Spanish, which because of the Holiday Season, changed into one gigantic Christmas decor and although most of group members thought it was odd, me and Tania loved every minute of it and the both of us really got into the Christmas spirit, much to the dislike of our group members. Since we were the two only Belgians in the group between nothing else but Dutch people, we were the odd ones so to speak and here in Guayaquil it turned out once again that despite the fact we speak the same language, we are two different nationalities … you can’t blame us for having fun!

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As soon as the clock turned 8 PM, we were all set for our last dinner together and since we were all looking forward to some yummy food, our tour leader Freddy, once again made his final mistake and took us to a very local restaurant, where the waiters only spoke Spanish and the food was more than traditional. On itself this isn’t too big of a problem, but on the other hand, the majority of our group wasn’t used to eating that food, so even after spending more than 2 weeks with us, he still didn’t know his people … kind of strange, but on the other hand, so typical as well. Not knowing what to expect, we made the most of it and although it wasn’t exactly the best moment of our holiday, we still had a pleasant time, but by the time it was midnight, the both of us as well as a few others, called it a night and just went back to our hotel, which was only a few meters away. 

Once we were back in our room, I still needed to pack all of my stuff and although I managed to get everything into my bag in record time, by the time I was finished, it was already way past 1 PM. Completely knackered after such a long day, the prospect of sleeping in tomorrow was the only thing I could think of before my head touched my pillow and I went of to dreamland.

Posted by Ils1976 11:36 Archived in Ecuador

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Comments

Thanks for sharing your story of your wonderful stay in Ecuador!

by Vic_IV

Freddy just could not get it right it seems as I follow these stories. It still sounds like a great trip though

by littlesam1

Larry, Freddy was not the best guide given to us when traveling in group. Most guides know there group instantly, but this guy ... he did his best but it didn't work at all ... unlike other travels I went with a group, but in the end ... we had a nice trip! :)

by Ils1976

you're welcome Viktor ... I still miss TB, but at least here I can blog a little as well! :)

by Ils1976

Guayaquil has an enormous cemetery known as "White City". Driving past it took 5 minutes. And we did also see the park with the iguanas

by greatgrandmaR

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