June 6 to 15, 2010
Hey Gang! This 6-part series of our travels in Ecuador is going to be light on commentary and heavy on photos. Why? Because I’m a lazy sod who would rather sit around a hotel room reading trashy action novels than exert myself in creative thought. Not that the task of reducing over 2,000 photos to around 400 was easy! Just easier than writing. In any case, our two months in Ecuador was more about the incredible scenery and animals we saw than about humorous anecdotes.
But first, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the results of the contest we ran in August (see our “Colombian Green” posting) where we asked your opinion on what kind of bag I bought in Mexico. Is it a satchel or is it a purse? Nine people voted and, I’m afraid to say, purse and “murse” shared first place with three votes each. Second place went to “manbag” with two votes and handbag(!) got one vote. Hmmmm, I don’t think I sold the whole “Indy satchel” thing too well. And the winner of our random draw is … everyone! All respondents will be receiving a postcard from our current location, Peru. Thanks for your comments and for the reality check that I’m not Indy.
And now, back to Ecuador. We entered the country from Colombia in early June and the border crossing was the easiest yet. Our first stop was Otavalo, a mostly indigenous town of approximately 56,000 nestled in a beautiful valley 7,500 feet above sea level. We really loved the vibe of this place and its natural setting. The people were proud, strong and friendly. And the views of nearby Volcan Imbabura – and, on very clear days, of Cotacachi and Cayambe – were majestic. We spent a week at the idyllic Rose Cottage hostel (www.rosecottageecuador.com), perched high above the town with stunning views of the surrounding volcanoes and farmland. We treated ourselves to a very tiny, but very cute cabin the first night and then camped the rest of our time there. The manager, Paulina (great cook!) and the daughter of the owner, Rita, took great care of us and we soon became fast friends. But while Roz was busy taking dozens of pictures of their adorable dogs, Rufus and Flavio, she/I somehow neglected to get a photo of the lovely gals. D’oh!
In Otavalo, we spent a day roaming the famous huge market – eventually buying an alpaca blanket and a wool/alpaca sweater for each of us. We also got a new muffler installed on Yuki – a home-made heavy gauge steel one that will easily outlast the rest of the truck. Before we left Otavalo, we spent a day visiting some of the natural beauty spots of the area. First stop was Lagunas de Mojanda, a desolate lake 10,000 feet above sea level that required us to drive on a surprisingly smooth cobblestone road made of river rock. Then we went northwest a half hour to Laguna Cuicocha – a spectacular crater-lake that lies within an extinct, eroded volcano. On the day we left Otavalo, we stopped at the Equator for an obligatory photo op. That night we rolled into Quito to make arrangements for the next part of our journey: the Galapagos Islands!
END OF PART 24