Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter in Quito, a Cloudforest, and Farewell to my brother!

We arrived in Quito early on Easter Sunday, tired and freezing but ready for the day´s festivities! We thankfully had a room booked at a decent hostal, so we hurried there in the cold rain for some rest and a shower!! Our hostal was in the new part of town, which, as usual, was absolutely dead--it´s weird feeling like you´re the only person there in a city full of millions of others.
After breakfast and a nap, we headed out into what seemed like a dead city--we stopped by a church, went to the empty bullring, and ended up at another movie, something about mountains and witches.
We were still in search of a crowd, and ended up in the middle of beautiful, and people-less, Old Town. It was gorgeous, all lit up at night, and we snuck into a beautiful cathedral for the end of a service. At that point, it was pouring rain, so we ran to a little restaurant near another church. We had a delicious dinner, including interesting Colombian booze and goat stew! A much quieter Easter than we had expected--I think we left all the crowds on the coast--but a good one nonetheless.
The next morning we got up very very early to catch a bus to the cloudforest of Mindo. After an argument with the cab driver (apparently the bus station for Mindo had moved in the last year) we hopped on and headed over. It was a thankfully short bus ride, and Mindo was beautiful! We found a great hostal, made completely out of wood, with a pretty view of the river and the surrounding mountains.
After resting, we explored the town a little, found some decent pizza, and went hunting for a butterfly farm. We were unsuccessful, although we did find a pretty pond full of jewel bright hummingbirds.
The next was quite exciting--we went canopying over the jungle and hiking to some sweet little waterfalls. Canopying was amazingly fun, and our guides were quite entertaining. The group we were with, a few British folks, were cool too, although the younger one got a bad injury from the canopyline, due to the fact that he was videotaping as he was going!! It was rather gory, and despite the millions of mosquito bites I recieved, I will never forget the feeling of soaring over the jungle like a bird :)
Afterwards, we hiked a few kilometers to a little lift that took us over a gorgeous canyon, where we walked a bit longer in the humidity--thankfully with little sun, as it was a cloudforest!--to a few waterfalls. It was a long hike back down, as we were both thirsty and starving, but still an unforgettable experience!
The next morning we woke up even earlier, somewhere in the vicinity of 5 a.m., to catch a bus back to Quito, as my dear brother was heading home that night!! We spent that day souvenir shopping (he buys much less than I do!) and doing a few last minute Quito things. It was a bit emotional to say goodbye to him, but at that point, I only had a week left to explore more of Ecuador!!
More on my final week in South America...later :) xxxx

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