Posts Tagged With: ecuador countryside

We Love Trains!

A love that only grew into being because our eldest child LOVES trains. In fact, it is possible that the conversation [announcement] about picking up and moving to South America for a year may have involved some assurances [bribes] in the form of promised train rides. Now that we’ve finally kept good on that…um…promise, Bo and I are both wondering what took us so long. It was incredible. Stunning scenery, beautiful people, music, dancing, warm breezes and a heart-stoppingly pure smile on Vaughn’s face that followed him into his sleep.

We went to buy our tickets at an unusually beautiful depot in Ibarra just before 8am because we believed the train to be leaving at 8:30. Our info on that was wrong, which of course never happens to us here, and the train didn’t leave until 10:45*; and the tickets to the standard train were sold out already so we ended up buying seats on the “Truck-Train” instead. As far as I can tell that is just a single train car with a truck facade and it fortunately still met with Vaughn’s approval, thankfully then helping us to bring one of Luke’s big interests into the day as well!

We walked across the street to the several city blocks conglomeration of ramshackle tin-roofed booths that make up the Ibarra mercado in search of breakfast and distraction. Wow. That sensory experience alone could have been enough aventura for one day, but 10:30 found us back at the depot watching Vaughn bounce on his toes with excitement as the train backed into our track and began loading. The ride itself lasted about 2 hours and ended in the small rural town of Salinas which is a climate and culture so far removed from the Ecuador we know here in Cotacachi we felt we had to have traveled much farther than that amount of time could have allowed. That place is probably the poorest we have seen here in Ecuador, but the town is SPOTLESS and it’s people have a smile and dignity that we were so drawn to and humbled by.  Salinas means “Salt Land” and it’s occupants are Afro-Ecuadorians that have been salt and sugar-cane farmers for generations. We were greeted with performances of their traditional music and dance, taken on a tour of a salt-mine, given a demonstration of just how one gets table salt from dirt, shown to the town’s only restaurant for almuerzo, and then loaded back on to the train for a sunset ride home.

This is a post that really needs more pictures than words, so here ya go!

*For our Ecuadorian friends wanting to take this trip: Buy your tickets a day or two ahead of time if you want the standard train ride, either in person or you can try online here, the cost for either train is the same, $15.00 for adults and $7.50 for kids.

Categories: From Bo, From Jamie | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Escape to Chachimbiro

A little shaken up by some unexpected twists and turns of our newly settled life, we decided to spend our first Saturday getting out to explore the amazing natural beauty that abounds in this area and is largely why we chose here over other spots. Having heard of the volcanic Chachimbiro hot springs about an hour away we headed to the bus station to seek it out. We were spared the bus by Bo talking to a new local acquaintance that told us his friend would drive us, wait all day, and drive us home if we wanted. Plus his friend could take us on the back roads through the countryside instead of the main highway through Ibarra. Perfect!, we thought. And it was. 🙂

Rodrigo came with his wife and children in tow as they decided to do their own family day up there. I felt a little strange having his family ride in the back of the pick-up, so the boys and I switched places with them on the way home – which we loved. Luke in fact declaring that this suddenly became the best day of his life.

Not sure what to expect having been to “The” Baños, we could not have been happier with Chachimbiro. In our opinion, it blows the famous pools at Baños completely away. It was cleaner, more fun, great slides, beautiful grounds, good food, lots of extra activities (zip line, air trolley, horseback rides), and as we were leaving Luke even spotted a man in a booth swinging taffy! So it turns out we are getting a better version of everything we liked about Baños here!

    The lovely grounds and one of the many spots the HOT water come straight out of the mountain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The DRAGON SLIDE:

We could not keep Vaughn off of it!

“Peligro Salida Personas” does not even BEGIN to describe what the exit of the dragon slide is like.

And then this happened…

Ask them to stand all the way under the shower at home and it’s a mutiny…???

Full day, heading home!

What are we doing this weekend?

Well…

Apparently, the carnival has come to Cotacachi.

Wish us luck. 😉

Categories: From Jamie | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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