And the winners are…

Fanny has 49 points, Lissy 45 points, Lindy 39, Sue 31,  Marion 4 and Dan 1.  Fanny, Lindy and Sue all get their prizes this weekend.   Marion, one of these days you and I will be in the same town at the same time, and I will buy you a glass of wine, (or two or what the heck, we’ll split a bottle!)  Dan, nice try, but maybe next time…

Anyway,  for those of you that didn’t think Ecuador is famous for its roses, here’s proof.

You’ve heard of red roses for a blue lady, but blue ROSES? Ecuador has them.

One of our traveling companions sent me a picture she took of our tubing adventure.  I was actually enjoying it a lot more than it appears in the photo…too bad tubing happened before the moonshine visit. That bottle strapped to my chest would nothave been filled with water!

Remember the question about the horn from a snail’s shell?  Pablo, our guide tried to teach me how to play it, but I was musically challenged.

I DID go snorkeling.  Notice the fins and mask i was holding in my hand, while boarding our boat.And no, I did not wear the hat while snorkeling, or the life jacket either.

Mike took this picture of the blow gun competition.  I did NOT hit the target. Fortunately, I didn’t hit anything else either.

I love this picture that Mike took.  I call it “sibling rivalry”.

Finally, what blog of the Galapagos would be complete without a picture of its world-famous tortoises?

And thus ends this adventure.  No more blogging for a while, gang.

 

 

 

Ecuador: Sunrise, Sunset, and a few things in between

What an amazing country!  Although Ecuador is one of the smallest in South America, it has incredible diversity.  Quito, the capital, is on the Equator, but is high enough in the Andes that in the evening I put my long underwear to good use, despite wearing my bathing suit earlier in the day.

You can’t measure distance in linear miles alone.  Although it doesn’t look very far on the map, it took all day, by bus, to get back and forth between the Amazon and Quito, because we were winding up and around mountains.  What a perfect way to see this spectacular countryside.  As you can see, our travels took us through a “cloud forest”. 

Suddenly the clouds lifted to reveal the lush valley and part of the mountain that just minutes before had been hidden.

The ride, however, was not for the faint of heart. The sign says “Danger, death curve.  Reduce speed”.  They weren’t kidding.  Shortly thereafter we saw what happens when you ignore the warnings.

We were very fortunate to have a highly skilled, responsible driver.  Here’s Paul, at a roadside cafe, making a lunch recommendation for us.

Our road trip was broken up by a visit to the famous hot springs spa.  Here I am, doing my Mrs. Potato head imitation. This bathing suit is perfect for us “Catholic school gals”.  Hey, don’t knock it.  Less territory to cover with sun block!  And yes, everyone HAD to wear a bathing cap!

Onward to those sunrises and sunsets in the Amazon basin!  This is the view of the pool from the Casa del Suizo’s crows nest just before sunset, and then a few minutes after.  You can see the little pond in both photos.

We were up at 5:30 am to visit Bartolome Island, in the Galapagos.  This island was formed by an extinct volcano, and offers a panoramic view of Pinnacle Rock and the surrounding area.  The wooden walkway was constructed to protect the island from being destroyed by visitors walking on the fragile volcanic rock.  It has over 300 steps (I lost count) to the top.

What, you don’t think it looks very steep?  Take another look.

Are we there yet???

The view was definitely worth the effort.  Can you figure out which land mass is Pinnacle Rock?

Time for a group photo of the 15 intrepid travelers.  And what a delightful group it was.  I thoroughly enjoyed our evening gatherings for wine and conversation.

One more sunset–this one from our boat.

Next post–the contest winners will be named.


 

 

Quayaquil

I have always wanted to visit Ecuador, because that is where my wonderful sister-in-law (mi hermana preferida) is from.  Her home town of Guayaquil is the largest in Ecuador, its economic capital, and is quite lovely.

We only spent 12 hours there (and we were sleeping for five of them), but Fernando, our guide took us on a whirlwind tour.  We visited the Malecon, Iguana Park, the cathedral, a neighborhood, and a chocolate shop.  Unfortunately, it was a Sunday, so the grocery stores were closed, or I would have loaded up on coffee and chocolate. As it was, our group bought out all the chocolate the little shop had in stock!

These pictures are especially for Fanny, who hasn’t been home in a long time, and por mi sobrina y sobrino, Tara and Steve.

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