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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Friday Chuck and I took the first flight out of Cuenca to Quito. We went to Quito to do some shopping and to meet our sister-in-law, Carol Watson. Carol has come to visit for two weeks and is attending Simon Bolivar Spanish Language school every afternoon. She is fine tuning her already good Spanish.

We arrived in Quito before 9:00 am, took a taxi to our hotel, dropped off our luggage and then went out to breakfast followed by a "power shopping" expedition. I wanted to check out the MegaMaxis in Quito since I found out that the Artisa factory is no longer making the pattern of dishes I have. When we were last in Quito we bought some of these dishes at a MegaMaxi there.
Luckily, I found some more dishes to have on hand.

Also, the last time we were in Quito, I spotted a rug that I thought would go in our living room. I didn't buy it when I first saw it and it has haunted me ever since. It is hand woven and the only one like it. To my amazement the rug was still in the shop and I was able to purchase it. SMILE!!

After we got checked into our hotel, I took a nice long afternoon nap as I was still not up to par after my illness. Chuck went out and secured a driver and guide to show him and Carol around Quito on Saturday and also arranged van transportation from Quito to Cuenca on Sunday.

Chuck and I went to one of our favorite places to eat in Quito for dinner. It is called "Adams Rib." The restaurant is owned by a man from the U.S. He makes good ribs with a wonderful BBQ sauce. I ordered the steak and it was so tender and tasty.

We picked Carol up at the Quito airport about 10:30 pm and then we all went straight to bed as soon as we got to the hotel.

On Saturday, Chuck and Carol toured Quito. One of the places they went was the equator, otherwise known as the "Middle of the World." When you tour the equator, one of the things you can do there is balance an egg on a nail head. I'm not a physicist so don't ask me why it works, but it does, because I have done it. Anyway, the picture below is Carol doing the egg balancing trick.

While Chuck and Carol were touring Quito, I did a little more power shopping and napped in the afternoon.

We went out to dinner Saturday night and then to bed because we had a full day of riding ahead of us.

The driver picked us up at our hotel at 8:00am. He spoke English and agreed to show us points of interest and to stop for photos.

One of the first places we stopped was a fruit stand. Here is Chuck and Carol looking over the fruit. We bought mangoes and a watermelon, then jumped back in the van to head down the road.

The weather is very dry here. Usually, this is the rainy season, but we are suffering from a drought. There are many bad consequences because of this drought but one good consequence was that we could see all the volcanoes while driving to Cuenca. Usually, they a covered in clouds and if you can see them it all they are only partially visible.

Here is Cotopaxi, a beautiful volcano in a perfect cone shape.

We had been near Ambato before, but had always by passed it, while driving to Cuenca. This time, Chuck asked the driver to take us through the town so we could see it. The driver took us to the central plaza and said we could walk around and enjoy.

Here is a picture of the wall around the plaza and the beautiful church in the background.

Here is a view of the Madona over the doors of the church.

We continued south and as we neared Riobamba we had magnificent views of Chimboraza, the highest mountain in Ecuador. We have driven past it before, but this was the first time we were able to see it. It was incredibly beautiful.

Our driver/guide stopped south of Riobamaba to show us the first Catholic church in Ecuador. It was built in 1534.

Our driver stopped for us to take pictures of the incredible views.

Normally, it is about an 8 hour drive from Quito to Cuenca. We stopped and toured so many places that our trip turned out to be an 11 hour trip. We arrived in Cuenca about 7:00pm and were so tired. We all headed to bed fairly early.

Oh, by the way, here is a picture of our new living room rug we bought in Quito.


Nancy and Chuck

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