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.


 

 

Red breasts, blue feet, scaly skin and big sad eyes

Yes, I know it sounds like a description of me, but I am actually talking about the Galapagos wildlife.    Blue Footed Boobies, brilliantly colored crabs, frigate birds looking for love, iguanas, and sea lions with the biggest, saddest brown eyes you’ll ever see.  Take a look.

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And now, time for the final contest questions:

A. Ecuador in famous for which of the following(and there is more than one right answer.

  1. Supplying most of the USA’s Valentine’s day roses
  2. Making incredibly wonderful dark chocolate
  3. Having a huge deposit of oil in one of its national parks
  4. Producing beautiful women, especially mi hermana preferida
  5. Producing excellent coffee, which is sold to Columbia, who sells their inferior (to Ecuador’s)coffee to the USA

B. The largest city in Ecuador is:

  1. Guayaquil
  2. Quito
  3. Miami

C. The city of Guayaquil got its name from

  1. the river that runs through it
  2. the girlfriend of a Spanish conquistador
  3. the sound that iguanas make when they mate

Okay, that’s it.  Prizes to be awarded next week!