A Travellerspoint blog

August 2019

meeting some friendly locals

Still freaking tired during the night, at times I got so crazy because of the itch on my legs that I hardly slept. Needless to say, by the time our alarm clock went off, I was a complete zombie and although I tried to get dressed as quickly as I could, I needed some sleep more than anything else.

I guess the prospect of learning a bit more about the mountain people here in Guamote and the surrounded area, was more than an incentive enough to get down the stairs and as soon as I had a bit of food into my system, I was still feeling tired, but more than ready to start the day!

Inti Sisa, has started out as a community project of a few Belgian people, who wanted to help the indigenous people here in Guamote and although they started out with helping the local teachers in the mountain villages, nowadays they don’t rely on donations alone since they have the income of the hotel as well. Over the years, volunteers have come and gone, but thanks to all of their efforts, Inti Sisa has grown from an idea of a few people into a realization with an educational centre in the town of Guamote, where job opportunities are almost non existent. Till this day, thanks to the hotel, 15 people have a fixed income with an honest wage, have social security and in turn made sure their children, husbands and wives also have found a second home in their little community. Hopefully one day, they can double it … we can only hope of course!

Learning about it sounded amazing enough, but seeing it with our own eyes, is something even more impressive. 

This morning, Eva was going to be our guide and as she took our entire group towards the educational centre, we soon got an idea on how the daily life of a preschooler looked like as well as learned a little bit more about the sewing and computer classes they give to the children as well as their parents in order to get a better life. It was clear to each and everyone of us, that Eva was worn on all fours, like they say in Belgium and this was even more obvious once we stepped onto the local bus where Eva took us up to one of the mountain villages. Here we had a chance not only to see how the daily life in a local school was going on, but Eva also guided us to her close and personal friend, who gave us a better insight into the clothing of the mountain people as well as the differences in wool.

large_DSC01676_Fotor.jpg
large_DSC01637_Fotor.jpg

DSC01654_Fotor.jpgDSC01671_Fotor.jpg

The most impressive thing during our morning drive up the mountains, was a visit to a typical “choza”, which is just a simple form of a house made out of mud or stone walls with a grass roof on top. Although this type of housing was mostly used as barns for the livestock, some people actually did live in them. Even at this present day a minority of people refuse to build new homes and decided to stay in these typical houses. As soon as we got back in Guamote again, it was already lunch time and once back at the hotel, we noticed that our friendly staff prepared us some delicious toppings, so that we could make ourselves some yummy wraps. They even provided loads of fruit, so that we could have a healthier variety as well. They were just so thoughtful and friendly that I already felt a little sad, knowing that we had to leave tomorrow morning.

In the afternoon, we had some free time on our hands, but if we wanted, there was also an opportunity to go for a walk through town, which sounded pretty good to me, so instead of staying in the hotel and make some empanadas like a few others of our group, I was more than ready to discover this seemingly abandoned looking town.Lazaro, who turned out to be not only a music teacher, but a guide as well, took us out in his town and showed us all the major sights such as the main street, the cemetery, the bullring, the parish church as well as the train station.

DSC01727_Fotor.jpgDSC01771_Fotor.jpg

large_DSC01780_Fotor.jpg

When we were back on our way towards the hotel, it was already past 5 PM and with just a little luck, I even managed to get something at the pharmacist for my itchy legs. Earlier today, I showed the horrible spots on my legs to someone of our group, who stated I definitely got an allergic reaction to bites from sandflies. That together with an insect bite and of course the usual mosquito bites, made my trip towards the jungle a more than memorable one, but hopefully with some soothing lotion, I would be just fine in the upcoming weeks … yeah me, as it turned out I would have a few more weeks of "itchy joy"!

Just like yesterday, dinner was served promptly at 7 PM and like the day before, I can’t but state that the starter, main course and dessert were more than yummy and with my tummy filled, I turned to my room and decided to let the homefront know that I was still in the world of the living.Though it was still early, about 9 PM, a hot shower and a rub with lotion later, I decided to have an early night and closed my eyes, hoping that this night would be a better one than the one I had last.

Posted by Ils1976 05:20 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

the Waterfall Route


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

For the first time since I have been here in the country, I could honestly say that I had a bad night. Although I was very tired and I slept instantly from the moment my head touched my pillow, at about 3 AM, I was suddenly awakened by something crawling around in my bed and to top things of … I got some kind of bite from it as well! How rude!!!!

I tried to kill it, but unlike something big that you can see, I guess it must have been something rather small, like an insect, which left me, and more particularly my leg, with a terrible itch. 

Trying to go back to sleep was a bit of a challenge because of the constant itch, but at long last I did manage, only to be awakened again a few hours later by our alarm clock, which stated loud and clear that we had to get out of our bed for another long day on the road. As soon as we got packed, had breakfast and got our lifejackets on for the very last time, we were ready for another boat ride, the last one here in the jungle. It was a bit sad leaving this amazing place, but after the insect incident last night, I was more than glad to be out of here as well … been there done that!

We must have been on the water for almost half an hour, when we finally noticed our trusty bus and saw Manuel again, who was waiting for us at the shoreline. Glad to be back on "terra firma”, I helped with unloading all of our luggage and as soon as everything was safely stored away in the trunk of the bus, we could finally leave for another day on the road.

Today, we had heaps of driving ahead of us, because of a change in our program. Instead of driving towards Banos, where we were supposed to stay for the next 2 upcoming nights, we are actually going to pass upon this town, only to drive for another 3 hours, all the way up to Guamote, our end destination for today.  In general, this meant that we were going to sit more than 6 hours in our bus today, so the sooner we could leave, the happier we were.

Once back on the road again, we found ourselves alone, which for Freddy was a nice opportunity to show us some nests of birds high up in the trees.

Although it was quite difficult taking pictures of it, I must say that I enjoyed watching those tiny little yellow birds flying in and out their nests, quite a beautiful sight. Half an hour into the drive, it started to rain as well and although we had one quick photo stop to say goodbye to the jungle and hello to another new river called, Rio Pastaza, which basically meant we were moving down towards the south, I was somehow glad to be back inside our bus again. It was raining cats and dogs outside and although we passed through some interesting towns and villages, being Shell one of them, needless to say, the further we got on the road, I finally managed to have a quick cat-nap as well, only to wake up again as we arrived at our first stop of today, “El Pailon del Diablo”.

large_DSC01552_Fotor.jpg

The Devil’s Cauldron, which is located in the small parish of Rio Verde, is basically a 100 ft waterfall surrounded by green lush environment. Although there are many interpretations of why it is called that way, the strangest of them all is that there are actually people who see through the rock formation and think it looks like the devil itself. I am not seeing it, but the walk down to the waterfall using a few suspension bridges is nothing else but pure enjoyment and I soon forgot that we were walking in the rain.Going upstairs again, was something entirely different coz that’s not really my cup of tea, but surrounded by the beautiful environment with loads of trees and flowers, I did manage. 

DSC01529_Fotor.jpg

Seeing it was lunchtime already, which was actually a bit strange since we did nothing else but sitting in a bus, we drove a few minutes further into the town of Rio Verde, only to stop at a restaurant called “El Maito” which is, according to our tourleader Freddy, a bit known for their beautiful garden, but as soon as we got our food, I must say that they know a bit of that as well. Strangely enough I was a bit hungry, so I ordered a burrito, which was one of the best ones I have ever eaten. This place really got a thumbs up in my book.

As dark clouds were hovering above us, it was as good as time as any to move on again and after half an hour into the drive, we had another quick stop. According to Freddy, the road we were taking is called “La Ruta de las Cascadas”, but till now, we only saw one instead of the dozens we were supposed to see. Since we were used to Freddy saying all kinds of strange things, I must say that I was a bit surprised when we actually saw three other ones, for once he wasn’t wrong and like he promised, it was well worth the stop.

large_DSC01570_Fotor.jpg

Cascade de Agoyan, is probably one of the oldest falls here in the Andes region and although the water isn’t too high at the moment, it is still an impressive waterfall, which is split into 2 big ones and 1 smaller one.Near the falls there was also a possibility to go for a canopy ride and although me and Tania were interested, we were still a bit hazardous about what to expect. A few older members of our group were keen from the minute we stopped our bus and went straight for it. Since we noticed they'd had so much fun, the both of us went for it as well.  

The sun was shining, we had an awesome view and since today wasn’t exactly a day to die, why not try it.

As soon as we were geared up, there was a split second I had my doubts while standing up that terrible platform, but once we were “released” and flying like a bird, I enjoyed every single minute of it. It was just an awesome experience!

Sadly enough, the fun had to end at some point and whenever everyone who went for a canopy ride returned save and sound, it was time for another 3 hours drive onwards to Guamote.The road we were traveling upon was long and full of beautiful sceneries, but once we passed the city of Riobamba, I had difficulties with keeping my eyes open and I soon fell asleep, only to open them again when we arrived at our last stop of the day at the tiny village of Colta.

At first, I was just thinking this was just one of the many “technical stops” like Freddy loves to call them, but besides it indeed being a bathroom stop for the ones in need, it was also the place where you can find the oldest church in the country, La iglesia de Balbanera, which was built by the Spanish and dates all the way back till 1534.

Since this was but a short stop, we just had a quick look inside the church, went for the bathroom and tried to take some pictures of Chimborazo, on of the highest mountains in Ecuador.At nightfall, we still needed to drive for about an hour till we reached the town of Guamote and our final destination of the day, which we sadly enough for the first time reached in the dark hours. It took a while to get to our hotel “Inti Sisa” which for the moment is run by a Belgian woman called Eva, but as soon as we were indoors, hiding from the cold outside, I felt right at home. Im not saying this because it is run by a fellow compatriot, but I instantly loved the comfy seats, the earth colors she used on the walls, trinkets which could be found throughout the building and I am not beginning to tell about the lovely food she served for dinner.

Tomorrow, we were going to learn more about the different projects of this guesthouse, which was fine by me, because just like most people, ì was completely knackered from a whole day on a bus and at the moment, I was more than happy with a hot shower and a warm comfy bed. Although it was only 10 PM, almost our entire group retired to their assigned rooms and went to bed or at least ... that was what I did!

Posted by Ils1976 05:09 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

a walk in the jungle

Against all odds, I must say that I slept quite well and although even at 8 AM the weather is already warm and humid, as soon as I got a bit of food into my system, I was more than ready to start the day here in the jungle. 

Leonardo, a local guy from the island, was going to be our guide for today and as soon as we got all of our stuff together for the jungle walk, the only thing left for us to do was to get our rubber boots and lifejackets on and before we knew it, we were back into the canoes again and on the Arajuno river towards Cosano, a private property where we were going to see some primary forest as well as some critters who are living in it. During our almost 2 hour walk, which went through some extremely dense forest, I must say that I was glad to learn more about the trees and plants we came across and although it was a bit sad that we couldn’t see the larger animals living in the area because of the size of our group and the constant talking of a few of our group members, we did however managed to see some smaller ones and they didn’t left me disappointed. Although some of them weren’t easy to find coz they blend in so easily, others were so colorful that it is hard to believe they were living in the same environment.

As soon as we were back at our canoes, tired and all sweaty but with a smile on our face because of all the beautiful things we had seen, we went for another ride on the river, only to stop again at an animal rescue center called Amazoonico. 

The center itself relies mainly on donations and volunteers working at this place. The main purpose or goal of the center is to rescue animals from illegal trade and give them a home where they can recover before they are set free in the forest reserve, if at all possible. The ones who can’t be set out again, remain at the center or zoo in this case, till the end of their days. During our walk through the center, we were hosted by a girl from Switzerland, who showed us the area. Surprisingly enough the zoo not only had different types of parrots, toucans and apes but a boa constrictor, a tapir, some turtles and crocodiles as well as a jaguar and other small catlike species. I just found it so incredible to believe that people go out into the forests to hunt these animals so that they can sell them for big money to Western people who want to have an exotic pet. Sadly enough, small centers like this one, learns us that even till this day, more idiots and morons are living on this beautiful planet we call home, than should be allowed.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was already 2.30 PM and just in the nick of time, we could still enjoy a quick lunch, which was served till 3 PM. It seemed that we were not only in luck with having a bit of food into our tummies, but with the weather as well. As soon as we arrived back at the hotel, it started to rain as well and not just a small shower, it literally came from the heavens above and about half an hour later, when it finally stopped, we could go further with our jungle tour.

large_DSC01469_Fotor.jpg

In the afternoon, we were going to visit a local family and learn more about their way of living. As soon as we arrived at the scene so to speak, we were welcomed by local kids and during our walk towards the house of one of the elders of the community, our guide Leonardo showed us a little bit more about their way of cultivating food.

Upon our arrival into a typical Quichua house, we were immediately welcomed by an elderly woman and her grandchild and although we didn’t speak their language, Leonardo was friendly enough to translate everything.Our visit into the house was although a short one, a very interesting one as well, as we got to see how “chicha”, a typical alcoholic drink of the the local tribes, was prepared and if we wanted, we could even have a try. I must admit that I was a bit tempted, but being a good father I suppose, our tourleader Freddy told us that if we wanted to have a sip, their might be a change we got really sick and the signs he made weren’t all that good, so instead, I just passed the bowl on to the next one.

The prospect of being sick, wasn’t something I was looking for and I guess a few others of our group thought the same, so we just passed it all together to Leonardo, who didn’t mind all that much. Since we didn’t have a sip, he could empty the entire bowl and looking at his face, I guess our grandmother had made a very good “chicha”!

Once outside again, we had one last look at the main house and before we definitely said goodbye to the family, we first had a talk about food in general and of course the way of hunting in the jungle, with a blowgun. Just for kicks, we could all have a try, but just let me tell you that I turn out to be a bad hunter, so if I happen to be left on my own on a deserted island … I have to become a true veggie, that’s for sure!
As soon as we were back at our canoes, we had one last boat ride of the day, towards the indian village of Ahuano, the place where our hotel was situated as well.

Upon our arrival in the village, we first had a quick visit to the local ceramic shop, where the lady of the house turned out to be a real artist. 
With less than an hour of daylight, the majority of our group wanted to walk back towards the hotel for a drink at the poolbar and although this sounded interesting, the prospect of seeing the rest of the village was more appealing and with just a handful of people, we walked through the main street, cheered a bit for the locals during their volleyball contest and visited a family where the man of the house could make a statue out of balsa wood in just mere minutes. Impressive to say the least!

As it was getting darker and darker, we slowly walked back the the hotel and as soon as we got back to our bungalow, instead for one last dip in the pool, we just went for the view on our outside porch till it was just too dark. A relaxing shower later and it was already time for dinner at 8 PM.

Like the day before, it turned out that we had the same table guests, which on itself wasn’t such a bad thing. Sadly enough food wise, it was a repetition as well. The starter turned out to be a delicious broth, but the meats and fish as well as the veggies, were either dry or inedible or to put things simple, just plain cold. This time however, the desserts which consisted of various cakes and cookies, were very scrumptious and needless to say, I went for seconds. Just like yesterday, we turned to our bungalow around 11 PM. We still needed to pack coz tomorrow another day on the road awaited us and by the time we turned off our lights, it was well after midnight, a good time as ever to close our eyes!

Posted by Ils1976 05:04 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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.

large_DSC01052_Fotor.jpg

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!

large_DSC01263_Fotor.jpg

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 Comments (0)

city touring in and around Quito


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

Unlike a few members of our group, I didn’t had much trouble with falling asleep as well as hearing not a single thing from the loud music outside. I must admit that I was a bit afraid of it as well, but once I laid my weary head on that pillow, I was of to dreamland only to wake up when our alarm clock went of at about 6.30 AM. 

Still a bit woozy, I did manage to get dressed and together with Tania, I walked outside our hotel towards a restaurant just around the corner where we could have breakfast, which on itself was actually not a very bad thing coz the sunny yet cold weather made sure that I was awake from the moment I stepped outside the hotel.

By the time it was 8 AM, the whole group was back together again at the reception of the hotel, ready for a day of sightseeing in the capital of Ecuador.

Manuel, our trusty bus driver awaited us outside and as soon as we all got seated, he drove us straight to the biggest church in the city, the Basilica del Voto Nacional, which is one of the most important examples of neo Gothic architecture in the entire country that is Ecuador. This basilica looks really beautiful with its towers and pinnacles and although I am not always the first one to see the beauty in it, I must admit that I was somewhat impressed with the gargoyles. Most of the time, or always to be more precise, you see those dragon figures or even mystical figures, but here in Quito, they used animals which are so known to them and instead of creepy things, you can see cute turtles, funny armadillos, dangerous crocodiles as well as angry iguanas … you gotta love that!

The inside of the basilica, to me, gave a rather sober impression, except for the stained glass windows, which were incredibly beautiful. I know I am a bit biased because of my predilection of this type of window, but still the colors where so nice, that I am sure that each and every one of our group was somewhat impressed one time or another.

Although our visit was but a short one, I was more than glad to had the privilege of seeing it and our next stop of the day was just the same.
El panecillo which literally means “small bread” in Spanish, is a 200 meter high hill located just outside the old town of Quito and houses (is this the right word??) the statue of Quito’s Madonna which is simply called, “la Virgen”. Made out of aluminum, this 45 meter high statue is quite impressive and it is the first one I have ever seen which has wings as well. To me it looked more like a cute angel than anything else, but since I am not a real expert, I just go by saying that it is a beautiful statue from which you have an awesome view on Quito and the suburbs of this large city.

large_DSC01062_Fotor.jpg

Just like our visit to the basilica, it was but a quick one, I guess that is always the danger of traveling organized, but at that particular moment I didn’t mind one bit, I just went with the flow so to speak and was more than curious where we were going to end up next than anything else. About half an hour later my question was answered as we were dropped off at the historic part of the city, to be more precise in the vicinity of “La calle de la Ronda”.

large_DSC01065_Fotor.jpg

This street, which is said to be one of the oldest ones of Quito, houses beautiful pastel colored buildings with cute balconies and nowadays it is not only nice for a stroll during the day or evening, you can wonder inside the houses as well and find many little shops which sell not only antiques or woodcarving objects, but delicious things like chocolate as well.As we walked through a few streets, after what must have been mere minutes, we ended up at the Santo Domingo Church were we had a quick look inside, before we went on our merit way again towards Independence Square, the central square of the city and one of the symbols of executive power of the nation as this is the spot where you can find the Carondelet Palace or in not so many words, the seat of the government.

large_DSC01099_Fotor.jpg

From the main square it was but a minutes walk towards that other infamous piece of Baroque architecture, the Church of the Society of Jesus or “ La Compania” in Spanish, which is basically a Jesuit church and best-known because of its use of gold leaf, gilded plaster and wood carvings. Although it is forbidden to take pictures, you can be sure of it that me and Tania wanted to capture that impressive gold leaf interior which was just too incredible to believe. Weren’t Jesuits supposed to be poor people ??? 

Still a bit impressed, we left the church and walked further along a few streets, only to end up at the San Francisco church about half an hour later, where we had our lunch. While enjoying a sandwich, we had the company of the sun as well, which dared to appear once in a while but being on the equator this also meant that it felt like sitting on a furnace, it was just that darn hot! 

large_DSC01138_Fotor.jpg

As clouds appeared at the heavens above about an hour later, it was time for us to leave the old town behind and as we were picked up by Manuel again, he drove us outside the city of Quito and brought us straight to the Intinan Solar Museum, which is said to be the home of the “true” equator. Since we felt its “power" earlier today, I guess I can say that the entire group was looking forward to learn more about it and I must admit that our lovely guide did her best to tell us more about her country, the indigenous tribes and wildlife still living in it as well as to show us all the tricks the equator has to offer. All in all it was a pleasant learning experience and I just wished our teacher back in elementary school could have shown us this coz it was just so much more fun than reading things straight from a boring book. Especially the balancing of the egg is quite a skill and although I failed to become an “egg master” myself, it was nice to know that at least 2 people of our group had the honor to become one!

cbc51f40-5cf0-11e8-8575-195fcbf9b5f3.jpg

I guess, we were still too impressed of being on the real equator or maybe some of us, including me, were still a bit jet lagged, coz by the time we were back on the bus, Manuel drove us back to the city again, without a single soul realizing that we just passed that other infamous statue, which is said to be placed on the equator. Although Tania tried to say something about it, no-one seemed to care and about an hour later we were back in our hotel again, leaving the both of us a bit stunned!

Still left with loads of questions of what just happened, the both of us weren’t really in the mood to listen to a few women of a local travel agency, who were selling a day trip to the Galapagos Islands. Insuring us that there wasn’t much room to book anything on the islands and with a promise that we were going to see all the interesting wildlife, almost our entire group booked their quite expensive trip, after all … this was the reason we came here in the first place. 

Glad to know that was sorted out, the both of us said our goodbyes to the group coz just like yesterday, we weren’t really up for having dinner with 22 other people. After looking at loads of menu cards of different restaurants and after walking in and out several streets close to the hotel, we surprisingly enough ended up at one of the several typical fast food chains of the country and while the rest of our group were getting ready to have a few cocktails, the both of us tried some of the local specialities. Live life to the fullest I always say!

Still craving for something sweet, we went on the lookout for a yummy dessert but after a bit of searching, we didn’t find something suitable until we passed a small funny looking store called “Republica del Cacao" where we dared to have a dark hot chocolate … I died and gone to heaven! Although us Belgians are famous for its chocolate, I must admit that we have found another country that knows how to handle this yummy delicacy.

Although it was only 10 PM, by the time the store closed its doors, we were on the move again and because nothing really exciting was happening in the neighborhood, we slowly walked back to the hotel, had a nice chat with one of our group members in the lobby of the hotel and by the time it was almost midnight, it was more than time to close my eyes coz tomorrow another exciting day awaited us!

Posted by Ils1976 04:47 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 13) Previous « Page 1 [2] 3 » Next