Day one of our guided expedition begins! We headed down to the hotel lobby and into the breakfast area where we were to meet our travel companions and our guide. The food selection was awesome, with fresh fruits, bakery items, and the best coffee we have ever tasted. We chatted politely with several of the others before our guide showed up.
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Our guide arrived and in perfect English, introduced himself as Wilson, Wilo for short. Introductions went around and we were then loaded onto our bus. Several people did not show up and Wilson had to go find them. They were rounded up and finally we were on our way. Our driver, Omar, was introduced and we headed a few short blocks into town to see the church that we visited the previous day.
We were then taken into a part of the old town that has been dedicated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most of the buildings in this area are all over 400 years old and are beautifully preserved. The presidential palace is also included in this area.
Part of our walking tour included a visit to a fabulously decorated church. It is called the Iglesia de la Compagnia de Jesus and was built in 1605. The entire inside of the church was finished in gold leaf! We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but it was stunning!
Our morning walkabout came to an end and it was time to get back on the bus to go somewhere special, according to Wilson. But Wilson had to firs go out and round up a few stragglers! Along the way, he treated us to ice cream, made the old fashioned way in a copper bowl spinning on ice. It was delicious! Shortly after, we arrived at the special place, the centre of the earth! Lattitude 0, the Equator.
This was a beautiful park with lots of shops and small boutique restaurants. It is said that only on the Equator can you balance an egg on the head of a nail with veritable ease. For me it was a piece of cake!
We had lunch at one of the restaurants on the Equator. A local specialty is Cuy, or roast Guinea Pig. I opted for the shrimp ceviche with fried plantain and the local favourite beer. The food was awesome.
After lunch, we headed back to the bus, but again had to wait for stragglers….. We then had a rather long drive through the countryside to our next evening’s lodging. As we rode along, Wilson told us of many legends that surrounded the local indigenous communities. We saw many volcanoes and at one point asked to stop overlooking a beautiful lake.
We arrived at our destination, a beautiful resort right on the shores of the lake. Cabanas del Lago is a collection of cabins situated on the shore of the lake with fabulous views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes. Neat and tidy and beautifully landscaped.
That evening, after a most excellent dinner, we gathered by the main lobby fireplace for a small get together and had fun introducing ourselves and getting to know each other. It was a great start to a most wonderful vacation.