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road tripping along beautiful Ecuadorian landscapes


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

Although I woke up several times during the night because of drunken people who had trouble finding their rooms, somehow I must have been really tired coz I always immediately fell asleep again. Even when our alarm clock went off at its usual hour, I didn’t hear a thing and slept right through it.

Luckily we always set our clock ahead of our actual wake up time, because we like to snooze a bit and this time I really needed that time.

Still not really awake, I tried to get dressed as quickly as I could, coz I still needed to grab all my stuff together for our departure today, which came sooner rather than later, as soon as we finished our breakfast in the restaurant next door.

It was already a little after 8 AM when our entire group gathered in the lobby of the hotel and as soon as our luggage was safely stored away in the trunk of the bus, we could finally leave for an entire day on the road. Today we were going to drive all the way towards Tena, our entrance to the jungle, but not before we had a few stops along the way.

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As soon as we left Quito behind us, we had a nice enough view on the Cotopaxi, which is still till this day an active volcano and with its eternal snow at the top, it sure makes for a lovely sight.

Traffic wasn’t all that bad as it is in Europe and although we passed through several towns and cities where daily life was going on at its fullest, there were moments we even had the road all to ourselves, which on itself, wasn’t exactly too bad coz it made for great photo stops along the way and after driving for what must have been about 2 hours, we finally arrived at our first real stop of the day, which was the small village of Papallacta. Located just off the Eastern Cordilleras at an altitude of 3300 meter, you could already feel the thin air and I guess when we go back home in 2.5 weeks time, we are going to be blessed with an amazing condition … I can always hope of course!

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Papallacta is very much known for its hot springs and thermal baths, so I must admit that our first stop of the day is not such a bad one and the prospect of me soaking in hot water while the sun is shining upon my face … there are worse things in life, that’s for sure.

Upon our arrival, it was still early in the morning and this meant that there weren’t many tourists in the vicinity, which on itself was quite a pleasant thing. Except for our rather large group of 24, another group arrived with loads of senior citizens as well as a few other Spanish and American speaking tourists, but since the baths we were going to visit were divided into several pools, there was enough space for everyone to go for a swim or for the ones who wanted, including me, for a relaxing soak in extremely hot water. About an hour later and hoping to be rejuvenated, we stored away our swimmers and were on the road again for about half an hour till we reached Guango Lodge, where we had another short stop for refreshments such as tea and coffee with a yummy biscuit.

This next stop, although a short one, was one I looked forward to for quite a while, to be honest. Ever since I read the program a few months ago, I was thrilled to know we were going to visit this place and I guess this was just the same for most of our group since many of them were birdwatchers and a visit to this hummingbird “farm” was like being a kid in a candy store … and than doom happened!

Last year while visiting NZ, me and my camera took a fall while walking one of the many trails you can find in the country and ever since that fall, I have trouble with my camera. I know I should buy another one, but since I am a bit attached to the thing, I ignore the constant signs and take it with me all the time, although unconsciously I know that it needs to be replaced since it doesn’t work all the time.  Till this far I had quite some luck, but as we arrived at the lodge, call it faith or doom, my camera suddenly didn’t work anymore and it gave all kinds of technical problems, so instead of taking pictures, like the rest of our group, I had to make do with just looking at those amazing little birds and what a sight they are … they are just so colorful and beautiful!

It must have been about half an hour later, when our tourleader Freddy decided we had seen enough hummingbirds and as he called the group together, it took us only a few minutes to get back on the bus and I guess we were all excited and eager to see more beautiful things as we drove off into the unknown. As the hours passed, we drove alongside beautiful Ecuadorian landscapes and although we had one short photo stop at Las Tres Marias, our next big stop was at Baeza, where we had lunch at a local restaurant called Gina. At this small restaurant, we could enjoy the local speciality, “trucha al ajillo” or for all of us who don’t speak Spanish all that well, trout with loads of garlic. Did I already mentioned it tasted heavenly??? Well, it DID!

Gina’s is although being a very basic restaurant, a place where you are welcomed with a smile and the food they serve is more than delicious. Once our tummies were filled, we were back on the road again for our last part of the day. 

As we drove further south, the sceneries changed on us from being rocky with trees to loads of green plants and from being sunny to hot and humid. I have to admit that I am not always great with humidity, but if I want to see a bit of this beautiful planet, I have to endure it and that is just what I did for about 2 hours long and a little bit more of course as we arrived into Tena, our gateway to the jungle.

Upon our arrival, we were not only welcomed by a cute dog sitting at the shore, but our transport to our jungle lodge was there to welcome us as well and as soon as we all got into our canoes and onto the Napo river, we had a more than relaxing ride all the way towards our home for the next 2 upcoming nights, La Casa del Suizo.

With still a bit of sunshine left, I endured the humidity and enjoyed the stunning views we came across during our boat ride which sadly enough had to end at one time, but nothing prepared us or should I say me, for the view of our jungle lodge, once it appeared right in front of us. This was truly a beautiful place located smack in the middle of the Amazon.

Our bungalows weren’t all that bad either and the view on the garden was well worth the stay. 

Although me and Tania initially planned of going for a swim in the local pool, we quickly changed our minds once we saw a big group of screaming kids around it. Gone was the peace and quiet we so badly wanted and instead we just remained at our bungalow or to be more precise at the outside porch, where we enjoyed the setting of the sun while having a great conversation … the only thing that was missing, was a nice glass of wine, but I guess that has to be for another time.

Dinner was promptly at 8 PM and although Freddy was raving all day long about the delicious food and desserts, I must admit that I was quite disappointed once I tasted it. Most of it was very dry and cold, the only thing that tasted great was the pumpkin soup, but that’s about it. Luckily the nice conversations with some of our group members made things all for the better and by the time it was 11 PM, me and Tania decided we had enough fun for one day and slowly went back to our bungalow and our designated beds. With the jungle noises in the background, I went to dreamland in a jiffy!

Posted by Ils1976 04:57 Archived in Ecuador

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