Less than 44 hrs ago we were on the top of a volcano (pichincha), amazed with the views of Quito below us. What were we doing in Quito you ask? Last week, we flew to Atlanta to meet the kids and traveled on to Ecuador for the wedding of one of our daughter-in-law’s best friends. In total there were ten of us and we filled every minute with excitement, starting with a ‘moderate’ (ha!) hike on Papallacta.
The weather was so bad only 5 of us continued on the trek. Four hrs later after scaling several very steep mountains in the pelting rain and treacherous winds, slipping and sliding in the mud, and battling the high altitude (to be able to breathe), we headed to meet the others at the hot springs. We were all shivering, I happened to be blue – so I got in the hot springs in my clothes! Heavenly is the only way to describe how it felt. We soaked and relaxed for several hours before starting back to our hotel – which actually is a Hostel. (We rented the entire place and throughout the week had fabulous meals at the attached restaurant called The Magic Bean!)
The next day, we visited Otavalo, the local markets to bargain for souvenirs and a small town known for their leather goods. Next was Mindo & the ziplines. Being deathly afraid of heights, I opted to stay on the ground, but the others zipped across ten vast lines hundreds of feet above the ground to experience incredible views.
We did a city tour to learn the history of Quito and visited the center of the world — GPS 00:00:00! We stood on the Equator line – the actual equator line and got to experience all the things you learn about the equator in school. Several from our group were able to balance an egg on a nail, we watched water drain out of a sink straight down. Stepping off the line (only one foot away), we witnessed the water draining clockwise and counter clockwise (be did both the south & north sides) … We felt the pull as we tried to walk the line with arms extended and eyes closed (only one girl was able to balance but then she practices lots of yoga), we tested our strength on & off the line, and so much more.
Then of course there was the wedding — in one of the oldest churches in historic Quito. The bride was beautiful, the ceremony touching, the church exquisite, and the reception a party that lasted well into the night!
We slept in, ate a great breakfast, and the five who braved the first mountain trek headed to Pichincha for another four to five hour hike. We took the teleferico (cable car) to one point then hiked from there … I stopped several peaks from the top as the climbs became steeper and steeper with drastic drop offs, but the others kept going. I sat on one of the mountain tops to wait for them to return and enjoyed the incredible views! That night after dinner, we headed for the airport and our red-eye flight back to the States.
Wow – what a fabulous week. Time with the kids, exploring new ground, and pushing through some of my fears, (some not all …). Now, we’re back home and back at work, but the memories will remain with us forever!! Until next time, hugs — Christine.