Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Randy and I were contemplating flying back to the U.S. for our favorite time of year, Aug. & Sept. There is the Crush in Washington wine country to enjoy, and there is the fabulous 4 day music festival Bumbershoot, in Seattle. But after much debate and cost comparison we (me) decided that if our daughter Kelsey would like to come visit we would offer to fly her down to Cuenca for a month vacation. She took us up on the offer. Daniel, Kelsey's boyfriend decided that Kelsey was not flying off to a third world country by herself, so he ponied up the money and flew down here as well.
Right before I began leaping around crazily!
 Randy and I flew to Quito to meet them, and then I decided since we were "so close" we might as well go up to Otovalo; a place I wanted to visit since we first were introduced to Ecuador. We spent the nite in Quito, and had a quick meal.. we decided to go easy on them and not try any EC food just yet.

  Friday we were off in a taxi (2 hrs, $55) to Otavalo. Kelsey dutifully took her dramamine, Daniel dutifully blew up her neck pillow, and she was off to sleep.
Taking a walk in Otovalo, EC
We stayed in a Hostal, $10 per person per nite. It was ok, we did not have the most comfortable beds, but it was nice to have stayed there, as we had wonderful views of the surrounding valley and VOLCANOES!
Cotacachi Volcano

Imbabura Volcano

Saturday was a total tourist day, we ate in a fancy restaurant for Breakfast.
 Daniel bought Kelsey a hat so she wouldn't fry her face. We smeared 50 sunblock on..$13 for a bottle! And headed off into the madding crowd...

Indian headdress... I really don't get this..

Awesome spanking spoons!

Local ladies walking by a stand selling indigenous clothing
 We ended the day early, by 1, the local sellers were closing up. Most have traveled quite a ways, and they were ready to head back home carrying huge bundles of their wares.
On Sunday we took the bus back to Quito. We decided a bus at $2 per person was alot better!
Back in Quito we took a taxi back to our hotel where we had left the luggage. They were nice enough to hold it for us while we traveled to Otovalo. We would recommend the Eugenia;
  http://www.eugeniahotel.com/en/rooms.htm the people are very helpful, most speak some English, the rooms are comfy,the water is hot and it is in the new part of town.

On Monday we met up with a local Epat, Liliya Bykova. She gives walking tours of Quito. We were a bit rushed for time and she was so sweet to take us as her husband had minor surgery just a few hours before our scheduled trip! If you like history and local folklore tales she can fill your needs. She was awesome. I think Randy and the kids were a bit cross eyed with all the history, but I loved it. Next time I am going to just see if I can get a private tour!
This is where the indepence movement began, among the poets and artists on this street.

Liliya Bykova herding us along.

Under remodeling.. I loved the huge photo covering the front..

I don't know why I cant get this to stay straight up, but the look on his face tells you he is ready to be done..

Another sideways ones, but all that is GOLD LEAF!

Group shot in the square of the City Library.
 Liliya was explaining that the library used to be the old military barracks, and after all the years of fighting to become a independent country; it took them 20 years to remodel the current building so it could be used for the library. In Ecuador they do not let you leave with the book. There are reading areas all over the 2 stories, where you can sit and read the book of your choice. There are also little areas where you can get parts of the books copied. Liliya says they have the best copy rates in all of Quito.

The traffic in Quito is awful. It took us an hour in a taxi to get from our hotel to the Santa Domingo Plaza, were we were to meet Liliya. When the tour was over, Liliya took us on the bus that has its own line through town. Now I know why they are so packed.. its faster. We paid our .25 cents and got in line. Liliya decided we needed someone more savvy with the bus routes to assist, so she struck up a conversation with a gentleman and he assisted with getting us in the correct bus, hopping off at the first stop to get in line for another bus, and then made sure we got off near our hotel. He was very sweet, and he offered us his business card as we left.. He was the head of Education in Quito! He was very nice to let us take a picture of him and his children before we left.
We walked back to the hotel, and picked up our luggage that they so nicely kept for us .. again. Then we hopped into a taxi to the airport. Our flight was to leave at 5:30, we did not board until 6:30..I think we were finally in Cuenca about 7:20..home by 7:45... it was a long day.. Hogar, Dulce, Hogar! (home, sweet home)


  1. Do you have contact info for Liliya Bykova? We have most of a day in Quito before heading to Cuenca for our first look to see if we might be able to retire there.(thanks to you and others with the great blogs.) We are starting to get excited about our upcoming trip to Cuenca. Thanks, John & Robin

  2. Hi John! Yes, here is her website.


    She also rents an apartment in town. So if you are staying for any length of time that might be an option. She also can give you good hotel info for staying in a comfortable safe hotel. Have fun discovering Ecuador.

  3. Up in my area eh? My farm is on the slopes of Mojanda. Otavalo is just "over the hill" from me. You drove around it to get to the market. Hope you enjoyed Otavalo! Viva!

  4. That is some beautiful country, but the idea of living between two active volcanoes was not appealing.. One of the ladies who lives there posted that they had a small earthquake yesterday..I had enough of those when I lived in California!

  5. "Hi John! Yes, here is her website."
    Thanks, we will be on tour with Liliya Bykova this Sunday. So thanks for the recommendation,
    John & Robin

  6. We had our Quito city historical tour with Liliya and Leo today. It was a good time and we are on our way to Cuenca to continue our adventure.
    Thank you for a good recommendation.
    John and Robin

  7. Great John, glad you enjoyed the tour.
    I hope you enjoy Cuenca as much as we do.

  8. Had a near brush with fame as we saw Randy near the "free market" earlier today, We were in the back seat of the Wessons car.