A Travellerspoint blog

Ecuador

Gas Masks in the Altitude

Our time on tour in Cotopaxi, Otavalo Region and Quito


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We were sad to be leaving Colombia. It is an amazing and diverse country. We really haven't seen the full extent that it has to offer and already are planning to go back.

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Our next stop was the area near Cotopaxi...which was still erupting! We took an early morning flight to Quito. Our first landing was aborted due to turbulence. When we finally landed on the second attempt the whole plane burst into applause...Lewis and I burst into laughter from the ridiculousness of it.

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Our lunch stop was a delicious farm cafe with fresh produce and the best chocolate milkshakes but which sadly, although they were delicious they may also have been made with fresh unpasteurised milk and made Lewis rather sick. On arrival at the cafe we were all given gas masks. There was ash all through the air that could irritate your lungs easily. The locals too were all in gas masks as well. The area is also known for roses and the ones in the cafe were stunning.

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It was a case of more gas masks when we arrived at the Ghost town that was our hotel for two nights: our options of things we could do there were walk, bike or horse-ride the same circuit and pay double the normal fee due to Cotopaxi erupting and the national park being closed. The town nearby was empty and practically everything was shut. The towns in the area rely on tourists and no tourists were coming due to the national park being closed and the huge amounts of ash.

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After a quiet few days we were pretty excited to leave and head to our next destination. We were off to a homestay in Santa Barbara community 20 minutes from Otavalo, a town famous for it's beautiful handcraft market, especially on a Saturday where it doubles in size. Our homestay was a breath of fresh air and like a step back in time.

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We shelled peas, picked Chinese gooseberries and watered the plants. Dinner and breakfast was delicious...Soup, chicken and rice and my favourite fresh fruit juice. Breakfast was Lemon Verbena tea with an omelette with sliver-beet and carrots and a side of fresh corn cakes topped with still warm gooseberry jam. Our family had an adorable six month old boy. There was also pigs, guinea pigs and heaps of dogs.

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We spent most of our morning watching a puppy play fight with a much bigger dog. It was hilarious. We are sad to leave this relaxing change of lifestyle. The slower pace of life was definitely needed.

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It was back to Otavalo for more shopping then through to Quito where we stood on one the equator line just outside of Quito

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Quito was a little of an in-between stop for us. It was our stop before and after the Galapagos. Our first night was farewell to our first group. They were a great bunch of people and we hope that we will see them all again soon. We also discovered we were camping and had the job of organising for our camping trip.

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When we arrived back from the Galapagos it was recovering and trying to see a little of the city. We accomplished this by taking the Free Walking Tour. We saw numerous churches, the presidential palace-where the current president doesn't live. (A lot of people have been killed there and he doesn't feel he needs to live in a lavish place like that).

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We saw traditional candy stores, mercado central full of flowers, fruit and food. We learnt about Ecuador and how cocoa and oil has affected it. We also learnt about how over inflation was the reason they changed to USD.

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I also finally got Lewis eating more than a few spoonfuls of food again. We had heard of a place called Rib Co which was famous for it Southern style food. They happened to have great pulled pork and Lewis demolished about 1lb of it!

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Overall our time so far in the first part of Ecuador has had it's up and downs. The problem with a tour is that you can't get a huge grasp of a city easily, unless you are organised and know what is essential to do and see. Our time in Quito was limited and so so were our activities. The city struggled to warm on me but I have noticed that most Capitals in Latin America are the same in that aspect, but at the same time though I wasn't adverse to it and would go back. .

Posted by chellebelle 06:58 Archived in Ecuador Tagged masks adventure co g ash gas homestay quito otavalo cotopaxi ecuadorian rib erruption Comments (0)

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