A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about dave

Ecuador's World Cup passion

Guayaquil


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Friday 20th June

A delayed flight back to Guayaquil in the morning.

2014-06-20-12h17m00.JPG2014-06-20-13h05m14.JPG2014-06-20-12h59m19.JPG

Once we got back to the flat we rested for a little bit and then I took Dave into my place of work to show him around. We said hello to everyone who was there, looked round most of the classrooms not in use at the time and then watched the first half of Ecuador's second group round World Cup match against Honduras in the lobby area with some of my colleagues and a couple of students.

At half time we walked back to the flat. Nearly every shop we passed either had the match showing on a TV on a wall inside, or on TVs set up on the street outside the front of their shops. Ecuador ended up winning 2-1, giving them a chance still to qualify for the next round despite having lost their first match.

2014-06-20-18h19m57.JPG

Tonight was Dave's last night in Ecuador so we went out for dinner at an Ecuadorian steak and grill restaurant down the road. On the way there we passed through noisy, excited, happy, colourful crowds of Ecuadorians waving flags and celebrating their win.

2014-06-20-19h41m27.JPG2014-06-20-19h42m49.JPG2014-06-20-21h24m06.JPG

Once we got to the restaurant Dave wanted a photo of the rifle-holding security guard before we walked in, but the guy told him kindly that it wasn't allowed. I had a massive juicy steak and Dave had some strips of beef or lamb in a reduced red wine sauce that he said was really good.

2014-06-20-20h29m49.JPG

Saturday 21st June

Dave's flight was in the late afternoon so we went to a supermarket in the morning so he could do a little bit of last-minute shopping. We had some uninspiring pizza for lunch from a place round the corner; not somewhere I'd been to before and not one I think I'll bother returning to. Then Dave packed and we took a taxi together to the airport.

Posted by 3Traveller 17:36 Archived in Ecuador Tagged football airport dave ecuador guayaquil Comments (0)

Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi National Park and Quito


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

A trek up part of Cotopaxi Volcano today. It was organised by our hostel and although absolutely exhausting, it was well worth it.

A minibus took us and three others to a parking area already up part of the mountain. We'd stopped at the entrance to the National Park; at the café I bought a cup of coca tea because I was starting to feel unwell due to altitude sickness. It helped a bit, thank goodness.

2014-06-19-09h47m53.JPG2014-06-19-14h36m41.JPG

The first part of the trek was OK, if tiring. It had a steep incline but wasn't all that long. The ground was a very fine gravel, so our feet sank into it. When we reached the top of this first part we turned and saw wonderful views over the rest of the National Park. The glacier above us was beautiful and awe-inspiring.

2014-06-19-15h25m20.JPG2014-06-19-15h26m49.JPG

Dave stayed at this part, but I decided to carry on to the base lodge that was in the process of being built. I'd had to stop for the loo, because I was absolutely desperate, so the others in the group had already gone ahead of us. That second part of the trek was very difficult - in terms of sheer muscular exhaustion it was on par with the last hour of our trek up Ben Nevis in 2011. This was the view of the second part;

2014-06-19-16h22m20.JPG2014-06-19-16h22m39.JPG

It didn't look all that far at the start, but that was misleading! I was struggling quite badly with altitude sickness by now - no nausea, luckily, just feeling quite lightheaded and off balance. My chest was hurting where I injured my rib in February last year and the back of my head hurt where it joins onto my neck. One of the guides was with me and she let me sit down and rest on rocks whenever I needed to, which helped. There were several moments where I considered turning back, but a voice in my head pushed me on. At one point a load of donkeys passed by me coming from the opposite direction.

2014-06-19-16h30m18.JPG2014-06-19-16h30m54.JPG

And despite being physically one of the hardest things I've ever done, it was absolutely worth it. As soon as I reached the lodge I had my photo taken next to the signpost that said I was at 4864 metres altitude, then tottered over to a seat amongst the masonry at the front of the half-built lodge where two workers were busy working. It felt amazing to be so high up.

2014-06-19-18h07m21.JPG2014-06-19-18h07m42.JPG

I had a enormously satisfying rest for five to ten minutes, along with a drink, before descending. The descent took about five minutes, making a mockery of how long it had taken me to get up there... a fast walk turned into a jog and then I was pushed by the slope into a run. Dave was watching from the bottom of this section, so he took a few photos of me coming down.

Then, after another little rest, we descended the first section together, at a walk. It was just us two along with the guide that had been with me on the second section. The others had carried on higher than the base lodge, to the edge of the glacier itself - this was an optional extra activity as part of the excursion - but Dave and I gave this a miss. By now I was starting to feel dizzy and sleepy and a headache was developing.

The three of us sat in the minibus waiting for the others to return. I started off in the front passenger seat but then I felt so bad I needed to lie down, so I moved to lying across the back seats and Dave took my seat at the front. The guide gave me an inflatable neck/head rest which helped make me more comfortable.

2014-06-19-13h01m39.JPG

Thankfully, once the others had arrived back and we descended to the plains of the National Park, I started feeling much better. We stopped at a beautiful lake for a bit and then to a small café where we were given free cheese rolls and we could buy other things if we wanted to.

2014-06-19-18h52m16.JPG2014-06-19-20h00m32.JPG2014-06-19-20h01m46.JPG2014-06-19-18h51m02.JPG2014-06-19-20h30m42.JPG

I wasn't hungry at all so I didn't have my roll, but I did get myself a hot chocolate and some Coke. Dave bought some coca boiled sweets, which we ate on the rest of our return journey.

2014-06-19-14h31m42.JPG

We stopped again at the entrance/exit to the National Park. There was a TV playing the England vs. Italy World Cup group match - Italy were winning 1-0. It was just after half time. Just as we drew up to the hostel later on, the match finished. England had lost and were out of the World Cup.

As soon as we got back from Cotopaxi National Park I went to bed. I was feeling lightheaded and dizzy again and started throwing up. I had about four or five bouts of it. At around 6.30pm my engagement ring was delivered! - I couldn't get out of bed so Dave collected it from reception. It was just as beautiful as I expected.

2014-06-19-18h35m19.JPG

I didn't have any dinner but Dave went out and had a similar mixed grill to the one he had at the Argentinian grillhouse a couple of days earlier.

Posted by 3Traveller 16:55 Archived in Ecuador Tagged mountains lakes football volcanoes hostel dave quito andes ecuador explorations ecuadorian_cuisine cotopaxi_national_park Comments (0)

The Chapel of Man, then engagement ring success!

Quito


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Update from October 2019: Another name for Abya Yala Museum is Museo Amazonico. Still open according to Google Maps. The wonderful jewellery workshop is also still there - also known as 'ARIU Art Jewelry Studio'

The first place we visited this morning was Abya Yala Museum, a small but very interesting museum with lots of artifacts from the Amazon as well as a few archaeological ones from other areas of Ecuador. Highlights included two examples of shrunken heads, various stuffed wildlife (a sloth, an armadillo, a condor and smaller birds), a massive dugout canoe, musical instruments, blowpipes, spears and some photos of Ingapirca, the only major Inca site in Ecuador. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any pictures.

When we came out of there a guy was practising parkour in front of the museum. We caught a taxi from there to our next destination, La Capilla del Hombre, or 'The Chapel of Man'. This monument and art museum was a creation of Ecuador's most famous artist, Guayasamín, as a tribute to humankind, the suffering of Latin America's indigenous poor and the eternal hope for a more positive future.

It lies in the very suitably named residential district of Bellavista ('beautiful view').

2014-06-18-17h18m05.JPG2014-06-18-14h26m47.JPG2014-06-18-19h21m02.JPG

On the way there we passed through Guápulo district, very hilly and historic. It was beautiful - I'll make sure to come back here for a look-around when I return to Quito next month.

First of all we walked round the outside of the monument, taking photos of it as well as the view and of a statue from the Honduran Mayan site of Copan which was donated to the Chapel of Man by the government of Honduras.

2014-06-18-18h22m51.JPG2014-06-18-17h20m59.JPG2014-06-18-17h14m38.JPG2014-06-18-17h15m04.JPG2014-06-18-18h52m35.JPG2014-06-18-17h14m11.JPG2014-06-18-17h24m11.JPG2014-06-18-19h22m00.JPG

Then we went inside it to look at Guayasamín's art. We were given a free tour by a guide, just for the two of us; in the process of doing so our guide gave us such a fine example of Spanglish I wished I could have taken a recording of it to play to my students and see if they could spot where the mistakes were. The tour began with a drawing representing workers at the silver mines of Potosí (in Bolivia) in Spanish colonial times. Before the guide told us this I had guessed it might be about the Potosí mines in historical times, so I was pleased when it turned out I was correct. Then Dave noticed a large mural and said it reminded him of Picasso - a few minutes later we got to that painting and our guide told us that it was indeed about the Spanish Civil War and was influenced by Picasso´s Guernica. The art was interesting and very symbolic. Once our tour had finished, we each bought a fridge magnet of our favourite artwork.

After leaving the monument we walked up some stairs to an on-site café, where we had a humita each and shared a quimbolito.

2014-06-18-19h09m09.JPG

Then we caught a taxi back to our hostel for a rest before heading out on a very important mission... choosing my engagement ring!

To do so we went straight to an extremely well-recommended jewellery shop called Ari's Gallery in the Old Town, right on the edge of Plaza San Francisco.

2014-06-18-17h19m09.JPG2014-06-18-17h21m25.JPG2014-06-18-17h20m38.JPG

Every piece of jewellery in it is hand made; the owner makes them with the help of five assistants. Most of the jewellery is silver but some are gold and some made from Spondylus shell. The ring I chose is made of silver and patterned with two pelicans and two hummingbirds - no precious stone. I asked if the silver came from Ecuador and it turns out that it comes from close to Chordeleg, a village near to Cuenca that is famous for its jewellery. I'd heard of Chordeleg before. Ari Gallery's owner gets his silver (and I assume his gold as well) from the same source local to Chordeleg as the Chordeleg jewellers do.

When we first arrived the owner's wife showed us round, but then the owner himself arrived. I originally thought that they didn't have any the right size for me, because there was only one of each type displayed (and apparently they don't have any in storage - they only ever have one of each type in existence in the shop) and every ring I was interested in was either too small or too big. They were also a bit too wide for my liking. However, then it turned out that they could tailor-make one for me, so I went for that option! He tried different dummy rings on me to find my size and then I picked the pattern and asked for it to be a bit narrower than the ones on display. They had a book of patterns and it said that the pelican means 'new life and long life' and the hummingbird is a general symbol of 'nature'. I love both hummingbirds and pelicans so I think I would have chosen them even without their given meanings, but I do think these meanings were very appropriate nonetheless.

The owner told us that he could deliver the ring to our hostel tomorrow afternoon for free, so we went for that option.

For dinner we went back to the Argentinian grillhouse we'd visited a couple of days before. This time Dave chose the mixed grill, which arrived piled up and still sizzling on a portable grill. He really liked most of it but unsurprisingly left the intestines! We shared some 'Italian potatoes' (fried potatoes with melted cheese, sour cream and mushrooms) as a starter and for the main I had a steak.

Posted by 3Traveller 16:28 Archived in Ecuador Tagged art pelicans museum dave quito andes ecuador hummingbirds explorations unesco_world_heritage_site ecuadorian_cuisine plaza_san_francisco Comments (0)

Thermal baths and a landslide at Papallacta

Quito and Papallacta


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Update from October 2019: 'Achiote' is still open and apparently doing well!

Today was taken up with a day trip to the thermal baths just outside the tiny village of Papallacta, about two hours east of Quito.

Our hostel owner told us that the quickest way for us to catch a bus to Papallacta was to get a taxi to the Cumbayá neighbourhood of Quito and then flag down a bus from there, so that's what we did. The bus cost $2.50 each. I had an aisle seat right at the back; on my left was a fellow passenger and on my right was a curtain covering what I assumed was a surface with a load of soft storage items of some kind on it. About halfway through the one and a half/ two hour journey the curtain suddenly moved as someone inside turned over! I assumed that it was an off-shift bus employee getting some sleep.

We were dropped off at the side of the main road and walked about 2.5 km up the hill through and then just beyond Papallacta.

2014-06-17-12h06m32.JPG2014-06-17-12h22m24.JPG

Once we arrived it was past 12.30 so we went straight to the restaurant and had some lunch first before we got changed and into the first pool we came across.

2014-06-17-13h22m22.JPG2014-06-17-14h31m46.JPG2014-06-17-14h38m45.JPG

Although sunny in Quito, it was almost completely overcast in Papallacta and was quite chilly, so the moment when I first sank into the first hot pool was absolutely heavenly. There were loads of pools; four or five hot main ones (including one that was extremely hot - you couldn't stay in too long, though it was wonderful to be in for five minutes at a time!), a couple of little freezing cold plunge pools and some small, hot footpools. Nearly all of them had a tiny waterfall on one side. All the mountains surrounding us had peaks covered in cloud.

2014-06-17-15h45m56.JPG2014-06-17-15h40m30.JPG2014-06-17-14h39m45.JPG2014-06-17-16h16m18.JPG2014-06-17-16h17m58.JPG2014-06-17-15h46m10.JPG2014-06-17-15h42m12.JPG2014-06-17-15h41m10.JPG2014-06-17-16h23m42.JPG2014-06-17-16h18m31.JPG

We did rounds of the pools for over two and a half hours before finally dragging ourselves out, getting changed and walking briskly down the hill in order to flag down a bus to Quito. We managed it in the end, but not without some drama - from halfway down the hill we noticed that the main road, which was at a right angle to the smaller road we were on, was completely filled with an immoveable traffic jam stretching round and out of sight! For a moment we were really worried that we were now stranded, because we saw that the road was blocked off for vehicles going in the direction for Quito...

2014-06-17-18h00m30.JPG

Once we reached the bottom, we walked round the corner and saw what had happened - a landslide! Luckily it was a relatively minor one and no vehicles had been caught by it. A digging machine was already in action moving piles of mud and stones out of the road. It cleared one lane's worth of stuff out of the way, watched by us and lots of other onlookers, and then traffic was allowed to move.

2014-06-17-18h03m56.JPG2014-06-17-18h06m32.JPG2014-06-17-18h02m16.JPG

As luck would have it, the second vehicle in the Quito-bound queue was a bus, so we hopped on it with relief. Within five minutes of us getting on, it was dark outside.

Instead of staying on the bus until it arrived at Quitumbe bus terminal in Quito, which would have meant a 40-minute taxi journey from there to the hostel, we got off the bus early at Cumbayá and took a taxi from there instead. This saved us a lot of time. Once we arrived back at the hostel we rested for a bit before going out for dinner. We ate at an Ecuadorian restaurant called 'Achiote'; Dave had a chicken grill with rice, I had fat juicy shrimps in garlic sauce, yuca chips and a salad of chopped cucumber, celery, tomato, pineapple, sliced boiled egg and pale corn.

2014-06-17-21h19m36.JPG

I really recommend this restaurant - the food was great and the service was really friendly as well.

Posted by 3Traveller 16:04 Archived in Ecuador Tagged mountains airport hostel buses dave quito andes ecuador papallacta landslide explorations ecuadorian_cuisine thermal_baths Comments (0)

Pageantry, history and an engagement ring hunt

Quito


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

We went into the Old Town first thing after breakfast, looked round the San Francisco Monastery and then revisited Tianguez Fairtrade shop (I showed Dave round the shop a few days ago so he could see all the corridors set within the former catacombs of the monastery, along with the fabulous range of handicrafts) to do a bit of shopping. We had a drink or two at the café as well - I had guanábana juice and a Cola Light and Dave had a hot chocolate and a Coke.

Plaza San Francisco;

2014-06-16-14h47m24.JPG2014-06-16-14h44m12.JPG2014-06-16-14h50m58.JPG2014-06-16-14h49m47.JPG2014-06-16-14h44m41.JPG2014-06-16-14h39m04.JPG

San Francisco Monastery exterior;

2014-06-16-14h51m34.JPG2014-06-16-10h05m49.JPG2014-06-16-14h39m11.JPG2014-06-16-14h49m38.JPG

San Francisco Monastery interior;

2014-06-16-09h57m01.JPG2014-06-16-10h04m07.JPG2014-06-16-09h58m38.JPG2014-06-16-10h02m24.JPG

Tianguez Fairtrade shop

2014-06-16-15h17m13.JPG2014-06-16-15h20m11.JPG2014-06-16-15h21m04.JPG2014-06-16-10h24m19.JPG2014-06-16-15h22m59.JPG

Then we headed back to Plaza Grande to watch the Changing of the Presidential Guard! This takes place every Monday at 11 am. There was barely a cloud in the sky all day so I got a little bit sunburnt. We saw the President, Rafael Correa, standing on a balcony, and ceremonial guards variously marching, riding on horses or sitting beneath the balcony playing in the band.

Plaza Grande;

2014-06-16-14h24m16.JPG2014-06-16-14h23m15.JPG2014-06-16-14h23m32.JPG2014-06-16-14h26m48.JPG2014-06-16-14h26m39.JPG2014-06-16-14h26m10.JPG

The changing of the Presidential Guard;

2014-06-16-15h48m26.JPG2014-06-16-16h14m13.JPG2014-06-16-16h05m49.JPG2014-06-16-16h10m41.JPG2014-06-16-16h05m14.JPG2014-06-16-15h59m18.JPG2014-06-16-16h00m12.JPG2014-06-16-15h49m03.JPG2014-06-16-16h05m27.JPG2014-06-16-16h07m15.JPG2014-06-16-16h18m09.JPG2014-06-16-16h09m04.JPG2014-06-16-16h11m00.JPG2014-06-16-16h27m10.JPG2014-06-16-16h19m13.JPG2014-06-16-16h24m16.JPG2014-06-16-16h18m40.JPG2014-06-16-15h56m03.JPG2014-06-16-16h21m00.JPG2014-06-16-16h30m43.JPG

After that finished, we walked to a narrow street called La Ronda which is lined with beautiful restored 17th century buildings, some of which have colourful flowers in pots on balconies. Several of the buildings have a plaque commemorating an artist, musician or poet who lived there in the past.

2014-06-16-18h15m20.JPG2014-06-16-17h27m51.JPG2014-06-16-17h29m35.JPG2014-06-16-18h09m17.JPG2014-06-16-18h08m53.JPG2014-06-16-18h16m43.JPG2014-06-16-18h13m09.JPG2014-06-16-18h14m06.JPG

On the way to La Ronda we popped inside the cultural arts centre in Plaza Grande...

2014-06-16-16h38m52.JPG

...and crossed a plaza on the edge of the Old Town which had great views of the Virgen de Quito, a statue of an angel which stands of a hill overlooking Quito.

2014-06-16-17h10m48.JPG2014-06-16-17h22m28.JPG2014-06-16-17h23m16.JPG2014-06-16-17h04m47.JPG2014-06-16-17h15m28.JPG

We had an almuerzo, a set lunch, in a restaurant in La Ronda and then got the Trolebus back to the hostel from Plaza Santo Domingo.

2014-06-16-12h35m11.JPG2014-06-16-18h26m17.JPG2014-06-16-18h31m43.JPG2014-06-16-18h29m56.JPG

After a short rest we did some photo editing and then went out round the corner from the hostel to three handicraft and jewellery shops, in order to look for a silver engagement ring, but we had no luck. None of them had very many rings on offer and what rings they did have were all too wide or were colours I'm not keen on. I still had another option up my sleeve, though, in the Old Town. I made a mental note to go there either on Wednesday or Thursday.

For dinner we went to an Argentinian/American steakhouse in the Mariscal Sucre area - delicious, just as I hoped. Dave got excited when he saw that T-bone steak was on the menu - apparently this is banned in the USA because of the way the meat is on the bone.

Posted by 3Traveller 14:36 Archived in Ecuador Tagged dave quito andes ecuador procession explorations changing_of_the_guard unesco_world_heritage_site ecuadorian_cuisine plaza_grande plaza_san_francisco fair_trade_shop plaza_santo_domingo san_francisco_monastery Comments (0)

(Entries 56 - 60 of 82) Previous « Page .. 7 8 9 10 11 [12] 13 14 15 16 17 .. » Next