There were a lot of highlights of my Ecuador/Galapagos trip two years ago. Two whole years ago. That seems like too long, but I still know what I enjoyed the most. Some things are just too good to explain in a few paragraphs though and deserve their own posts. These are my favorite things in no particular order.
The Cloud Factory
My first favorite thing was The Cloud Factory. This was just a quick stop on our first full day in Quito. I’m pretty sure this is in the Mindo Cloud Forest, but I’m not 100% sure. If you know, let me know and I’ll update this. We were leaving the museum on the equator and this was a little surprise our bus driver had for us.
I’d say it was a pretty darn good surprise. This is an extinct (obviously) volcano crater that now has a bit of a village in it. The clouds just roll right on through and form here too. It is a bit windy here, but well worth it. There was a trail, where I took this picture from, that led all the way down. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time to follow it, but the view. I mean, look at it.
Basílica del Voto Nacional
I’m not the biggest fan of going to churches. It just doesn’t feel like something I should go in just to wander around and take pictures of. But, it was a group thing and well worth it this time. The Basilica del Voto Nacional in Quito it a massive church that isn’t covered or even trimmed with gold all over the inside. It just happens to be a really impressively built church.
There were stairs that took us up to a smaller little area kind of in the back or inside or on top of maybe for who knows what. All I know is that it had a wonderful view of the back, outside of the church. I probably could have wandered around here for a couple of hours just taking pictures and looking at it. And for the number of people that were here, it was surprisingly quiet. It felt respected here.
It’s no secret that the animals of the Galapagos are friendly as can be, unless taunted of course, but I really loved the crabs. Sally lightfoot crabs to be specific. These guys are all over on the beaches, dead and alive. Of course, the living ones were much harder to photograph because they are quick. Very quick.
All of the animals though were just so different from anything I am used to seeing, which is deer, and squirrels, and rabbits, and more deer. They were so exotic to me that I just could have looked at them for hours. I remember on Florena, I spent a solid 15 minutes taking pictures of a sleeping Christmas Iguana from a few inches away at some points.
I know it woke up at one point, but it just sort of looked at me like “hey, as long as you don’t touch me, we’re cool.”
Endless views of cities from above, usually Quito, but it is crazy to think about how much is going on there while I just sit up here on this bridge watching it cluelessly. Or on the side of a road in the mountains completely oblivious as to anything other that our weird, but awesome, group taking pictures of each other and who knows what in the grass on the side of the road.
Aji – Well, all of the food
Aji! think of aji in Ecuador like ketchup or ranch dressing here; it goes on everything. But this is way better than ketchup or ranch. It reminds me of salsa, varying in spice levels. This went on everything from the rice to the meat and was never a bad addition to anything.
The other food thing I loved was the soup. I don’t have a lot of soup at home, but if I ate it like them, with popcorn, I might eat more. Yes, they put popcorn in their soup. There is just a bowl of it on the table and you drop a few pieces in at a time so they don’t get too soggy. We didn’t catch on to this at first, but I sure am glad we did. I would highly recommend trying this.
Buen Provecho was also a key part of meals. It basically means good eating! You say it to you dining mates and anyone you pass at a restaurant on your way to your table.
And scenery like this, everywhere. I don’t think there was one place that didn’t have phenomenal scenery like this. I don’t even know how many more pictures I have like this. Lets just say it’s a lot and could have its own post. The top one was outside of Riobamba in the Quechua village we visited, also where I got to walk Maria the llama and try harvesting some of their plants, which is actually pretty difficult, but fun to try.
This gem down here was also in Quito. Or above Quito, I suppose. We took a cable car up here then there were hiking trails at the top and this was along the trails. Maybe it was at the station thing right away. Either way, it was tough walking up here because we were so high up and kept going up, but it was well worth it and I would have loved to keep going.
While there is so much more I could praise about Ecuador, this is it for now. I can’t share everything at once! The more I think about it though since I’ve been back, the whole two years (I still can’t really grasp that it was so long ago) the more I realize how much I really loved Ecuador. So much about it was just fantastic. I cannot wait to spend more time here.
Have you been to Ecuador? What was your favorite part about it? Did you get to visit the Galapagos too?