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