Just back from a short trek through Guaranda, which is about 4 hours southeast of Quito. I love this quaint little city. I took lots of pics of the colorful buildings, walked up to the monument (that was a 2 1/2 hour escapade up a “short cut” hillside but I arrived), and enjoyed their mercado. Much in Guaranda is uphill. No worries as taxi’s are cheap ($1.25 minimum) and I was fortunate that one of these came along just as I started the trek back downhill from the monument.
I stayed at the Hotel Marquis. It’s $15 bucks a nite, wifi and hot water – so win/win. (Though the first afternoon there was no hot water but it’s South America, after all.)
There’s not a lot to do – visit the epic church downtown, sit on the plaza a bit, look for food. I am always a bit more careful in the small towns about where I eat. There was a restaurant right off the square, diagonal to the church that wasn’t too bad, and then I located the Food Park. Worth a visit. Eight small food vendors and a homemade ice cream cart. Prices were super reasonable and the food was good. Definitely a great choice.
Not much in the way of shopping in Guaranda, though you’ll want to grab the Salinerito cheese sold in multiple little shops, as it’s known throughout Ecuador.
All in all is was a peaceful couple of days and worth a stop as you are trekking through to somewhere else.
So good to be back in beautiful Ecuador for a while. For those who have never been in South America, it’s like a refreshing breeze of reality and what’s important compared to everyday life in the U.S. No daily news bites here of what’s the latest that’s irritating the media — just a life of daily work to put bread on the table. I suppose it’s easy for me to enjoy, not needing to work daily to put bread on my table. (Shout out to my hard-working hubby.). Traveling also frees me from my daily home routine, which is always nice to have a break from.
I am living in an apartment in a wonderful neighborhood called La Floresta in Quito. Supermarket across the street, chicken shops down the way, close to bus lines, both pick up and drop off. We popped my 14-year old young man into a school where he is getting daily Spanish tutoring and a math teacher is doing some much needed one-on-one. That gives this momma an added break as it’s the first time in almost 30 years I have not been on kiddo duty. (Did I mention he’s living there?!). It allows him to spread his wings a bit too. It’s very common here in Ecuador to see children as young as 10 or 12 navigating the buses alone, walking to school in pairs, enjoying time in the mall with peers — something you just cannot do much anymore in the U.S. Such a pity! I see a healthy pattern of self-responsibility in the teens here that seems to be lacking in our culture. I am excited for my young man that he gets to choose to grow a bit more, learn from this culture while we are here, and come home with the gift of a second language brewing in his belly.
I am feeling blessed to be called here for such a time as this and enjoying seeing what the days will bring!