Well, here we are back in Quito waiting to leave for Machachi, south and upwards in elevation to do some climbing around Volcan Cotopaxi.
We just got back from Ibarra just north of Otavalo. A much dirtier city than Otavalo and we didin´t see one gringo. Some of the plazas were relaxing and we found some of the best Empanadas ever for dinner one night for around $3.80 and gobbled down 9 of them. The highlight of the trip up was getting outside the city, a 20 minute bus ride away, to a village called La Esperanza. Very rural, and then took another 20 minute Camioneta (80´s white Toyota pickup retrofitted with cattle gate style bed) ride with Umberto to the end of the cobbled road leading up the side of Volcan Imbabura.
We were finally able to escape the polluted environs of Ibarra and a final elevation of around 12,600 feet for a spectacular view over the village and Ibarra. Surrounded on all sides by the lattice work of tilled fields and other surrounding peaks. After an hour of resting and just taking in the incredible views we hiked the 4 or so hours back down the cobbled street of La Esperanza. Competing the whole way for walking space along side the road with cows, chickens, dogs, and Indiginas. We got plenty of giggles and stares and a few hearty "buenos dias" acknowledgments until we finally finished the beautiful and humbling walk back to catch the bus for Ibarra. These incredible people do this walk constatly in just a simple pair of cotton slippers with a couple of straps. Kind of puts into perspective my pinning over "the right choice" of footwear under the neon of REI.
Until next time , our love with all of you, and your kind words and messages warm us. Ciao!