Wandering Around Quito

Quito is the highest official capital of the world nestled between the Andes and the Pichincha Volcano. The city lies in the Guayllabamba river basin and is surrounded by lush trees. Quito has a very urban feel, think lots of people, cars, and buildings.


My lovely friend took me to the Guyasamin Museum on my first day. Divided into two parts, the tour includes a viewing of his murals in the Capilla del Hombre as well as a tour of his home. It was super interesting to walk around his home as it contained TONS of religious artifacts and art from around the world. Guyasamin was a fantastic painter who created works with such raw emotion behind them.

Quito’s historic center is a UNESCO heritage site. I thoroughly enjoyed walking along the cobblestone sidewalks admiring the colorful architecture. We visited the Basilica and San Francisco Church. The churches in Quito did not disappoint. They all had exquisite sculptures and stain glass displays. We also took a stroll around the Independence Plaza. Here we found the Presidential Palace, Cathedral of Quito, and Archbishop’s Palace. The square was quite busy and made for great people watching.

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We wandered down Calle La Ronda, which was the old bohemian district. It was election weekend so a lot of the shops and cafes were closed. However, we did find a shop selling Ecuadorian honey. It was quite fun taste testing honey with avocado and citrus flavors.

On my last day in Quito, I found a yarn store that sold Ecuadorian wool and alpaca 😍. I must say I controlled myself considering that the yarn was quite economical (5 100 gram skeins of alpaca blend for $30!). I love this dusty rose color and plan on making a cozy sweater.

 

All and all Quito is great to visit. It has a great balance of culture, architecture, and history.

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Ecuador Jungle Experience

As our boat careened through the dark waters of the river I knew I had made a great choice in electing to go to the Amazon Jungle. I spent 4 days in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve at Jamu Lodge. The scenery was amazing and it was nice to take a technology break. 

Cuyabeno is not easy to get to from Quito. I took and overnight bus (7 hours) to a shuttle (2 hours) to a boat (1 hour). However, once you enter the reserve is is all worth it.

So what is there to do in the jungle? First off, look for amazing animals.  We saw monkeys, snakes, birds, a sloth, Caimen, huge insects and spiders. We also go a chance to visit a local indigenous community and meet the shaman. My favorite part of the trip was the night hike though the jungle. It was a little scary, but unlike anything I have every done. 

The jungle was an amazing sensory experience. At night it was almost too loud to sleep. I am accustomed to city noise yet, in the jungle between the monkeys, cicadas, and grasshoppers there were so many unknown sounds. I also had to adjust to the heat. Ugh it was so humid. My hair was rebelling by day 3. Thank goodness for scarves! Visually, there was almost too much to look at. The water glistened as the sun reflected off of it, the leaves were all shades of green, the orchids were vibrant, and there was almost always an animal to check out. 

I also got time to finish my Slumber Party socks. They were such a quick project. We got free time each day and I hung out in the hammock area knitting away.


So if you are in Ecuador, I highly suggest a jungle trip. It is something you will remember forever. 

Hasta Luego,

-Whit- 

Adventures in Otovalo, Ecuador

So far my time here in Ecuador has been fabulous. I am so lucky to have a friend guiding me around to all of the sites. It also helps that she is fluent in Spanish as my Spanish is super rusty. We ventured up to Otovalo, which is a 2 hour bus ride from Quito. The bus ride was quite nice. We had comfy seats and lovely view of the Ecuadorian countryside. 

We arrived in Otovalo around 11:30 am. Our goal was to head to the famous marketplace as well as Lake Cuicocha. First stop was the market. It was overwhelming! There were so many items to see such as local clothing, food, and beautiful handicrafts. And then I found yarn 😍

The colors were GORGEOUS! So many choice to choose from. There was only one problem…all of it was acrylic *sigh*. Don’t get me wrong I am no yarn snob. However, I kind of have a personal policy when traveling that if it isn’t unique then I don’t buy it. I travel with a backpack and it is only 50L. If I load up on every hank of yarn I will have way to much to carry. So I showed some restraint and just said no. 

After a great almuerzo (lunch) of soup, baked chicken and rice, and blackberry juice, my friend and I headed for the lake. We took a 20 minute taxi ride to the park and were immediately glad we made the journey. The lake was a sight to see. It is a 2 mile crater lake smack in the middle of some mountains. You can hike along a trail that follows the perimeter of the lake. We walked about a 1/4  around before it started raining. The hike was lovely as you got to see the serene water as well as the vivid green countryside. Plus there were some ancient ruins along the way. 
All and all this was a great day trip in the Andes. Next stop is the Amazon Jungle!


¡Hasta Luego!

-Whit- 

As always you can find me on IG @knitsbywhitsf and Ravelry as lilwhit

Orchids in Balboa Park

Aside from knitting, flowers are my favorite things to admire. The variety of colors and shapes keep my inner creator intrigued.

I had the pleasure of heading to San Diego, CA this weekend and I got to wander through the Botanical Garden in Balboa Park. The garden featured orchids, tropical palms, and ferns, and there was a little tulip patch. Many of the colors had me taking notes. Case and point these flowers: 

I am in love with this rich hot pink color. I must find some yarn this exact color and knit a cardigan. Not quite sure why mind is saying cardigan, but I am rolling with it haha. 

The orchids on display were hands down my favorite. Orchids are so sculptural looking and the color combinations/patterning have me in awe. This visit most certainly got my creative wheels turning.

What inspires you to create?

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

Urban Hike: Mt. Davidson

One of my favorite things to do in San Francisco is to go on urban hikes. San Francisco, like many major cities on the west coast, has a lot of green space to enjoy. This weekend we “conquered” Mount Davidson.  As I learned from Bay Area Hiker, Mount Davidson is the highest natural point in the city.

The view from Mount Davidson was spectacular. We mainly stayed on the east side of the hill and took in the downtown skyline.  The view made for a great backdrop to take some photos.

Also located on the mountain is a giant concrete cross. In 1997, the Armenian American Organization purchased the cross from the city and placed a plaque to honor those who were victims of the 1915 genocide.

The hike was not too strenuous, and when you combine the 1.5-mile walk from my apartment, it was a nice way to get some exercise. It has been steadily raining for the last two weeks so it was nice to be out and about.

In other news, I decided to re-open my Etsy shop. I have way too many FO piled around my apartment. I also plan on listing some patterns that I have created as well. If you have the chance please stop by and visit/favorite my shop.😀

What did you do this weekend? 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

From Beach to Snow

My husband is always saying “California is the best state.” I don’t know about all that. Yes, California is awesome, but I still have a special place in my heart for my original home state of Massachusetts.

The one thing I can say is that California has one of the most diverse geographic landscapes in the USA. We have beaches, mountains, desert, farmland, and great cities all in one state. From San Francisco alone, you can drive to the mountains, coast, farmland all within 3 hours. This winter break I got to do quite a bit of adventuring, 1,389 miles to be exact. At times, it was a little exhausting, but it was fun to see so much of California in a week in a half.

My adventures began with driving from San Francisco San Diego, CA.  I really enjoy  San Diego. I love that it is warm with great views and has a city feeling to it, but it is not overwhelming. While visiting we headed to Cabrillo National Monument, Old Town San Diego, the Gaslamp District, and La Jolla.

My college friend headed back up to San Francisco with me and we got to do a little hiking in Muir Woods/ Mt. Tamalpais State Parks. In these parks, you can take in the fantastic views of the bay as well as the giant Redwood trees.

For Christmas, my husband and I headed north to Sacramento. It was lovely spending time with family. I also got the special surprise of a ukulele! Kind of random yes I know. However, one day my husband and I were talking about things on our bucket lists and I brought up how I wanted to learn to play the ukulele. Here is me in my Red Rosina (don’t worry a future post is coming about my sweater) attempting to play.IMG_1369[1].JPG

Last, but not least, we headed to the Sierra Mountains to visit my husband’s extended family. Boy was it cold! I am used to being in 55-degree weather and it was 19 degrees one morning…Yikes! The snowy landscape was very pretty and we got the chance to walk through the snow covered pines along the Feather River. The Sierra Mountains have a unique beauty, but the winters are most certainly not for me. All and all a great trip yet, I am in need of a little vacation from my vacation.😉

 

Until Next Time,

-Whit-

The Beach

I looked out onto the world around me and took in the beauty. The beach is one of those places I can just let my senses take over and rest my mind.

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Meditation along Highway 1

I am comforted by the rush of the water on the shoreline and the smell of salt in the air. 

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Pheiffer Beach

I love how the wet sand bends beneath my feet as I leisurely stroll the length of the beach. Although I cannot stand the grit, I love to see the path I traveled.

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Sandollar Beach

As my mind wanders, I take in the changing sounds around me. The noise of children yelling, the churning water, and dogs barking at the birds above me.

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Pheiffer Beach

The beach is not merely a place of relaxation for me; it’s a place of freedom. This freedom allows my thoughts to slow and practicalities to take the passenger seat. In my world, there are so many controls that can take over my mind- work, family, politics. It is nice to have a place where my thoughts can be mine.

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Beach near Point Sur Light Station

-Whit-