Up and down to farewell Ecuador

Wednesday 27 to Friday 29 December

Our last day was a climb to Lake Toreádora at 3950m, in the Parque Nacional Cajas. Jose assured us we had time to make the Camino de Garcia Moreno hike around the lake. So after registering with the park officials we set off, leaving Jose to catch up on more sleep.

As we were starting off, a Singapore girl called Yap asked if she could join us. She was lovely company, and I thought, very brave to be travelling on her own.

The hike was at times quite challenging, over slippery rocks and up steep climbs. The beautiful alpine lake was ablaze with beautiful wildflowers. I am not sure Yap realised how we would slow her progress with all our flower photography.

We drove over the Cajas pass at 4150m and started our descent to Guayquil. An amazing descent out of the clouds and into the coastal humidity. I was relieved to reach sea level again and breathe as I am used to. Jose however, told me that he preferred the high altitude. I suppose you would when you are born into it.

Guyaquil was where we farewelled Jose, after an amazing 10 day journey with him. We had covered most of Ecuador and seen rain forests and high plains, sleeping volcanos and numerous churches, ancient ruins and colourful markets. We still keep in touch via Facebook, and I think he is building up his touring.

We had checked into the Hotel Continental in Guayquil. There is a park opposite called Parque Seminario which is home to hundreds of iguanas. A lady had come to feed them lettuce – it seemed like a regular occurrence as they were queuing up to get their treats. It was late in the day and the iguanas were settling into the trees for the night. A small pond was equally alive with fish and turtles – being fed.

There was also a statue of Simon Bolivar in the park – he is everywhere.

Guyaquil is a holiday resort so we concentrated our activities on the Malecón sea walk. We wandered around the beautiful Municipal Palace and then the long walk to the southern end. There was a life size Nativity scene, and finally we were seeing the manger or crib with baby Jesus in it. The many nativity scenes don’t show baby Jesus until after Christmas Eve, in fact he is usually placed there as part of a procession to and then into the church.

At the end of the Malecón is the area called Santa Anna Hill, a colourful array of houses on the hill, topped by a pretty blue and white lighthouse.

We treated ourselves to a ride in La Perla, the ferris wheel on the Malecón to get a great view over the Rio Guaya.

So we left Ecuador and flew to Lima in Peru where we would celebrate the entry of 2018.