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R & R in Ecuador

Our initial exposure to Ecuador was in November 2006; I have been back 4 times since then….

My husbandGlenn signed us up for a week of ‘R & R’ which we soon re-named ‘R & A’ – Rejuvenation and Adventure – for each trip continues to remind me that every day is an adventure in Ecuador…this is a description of our initial adventure. All details were our of our hands, carefully attended to by Gary’s and Merri’s  staff at El Meson and in particular, Steve M…making for a fabulous first experience of Ecuador.  We just had to show up.

 Our first day was a visit to the infamous saturday Otavalo market where colour and texture abound.  We turn the corner to a hidden respite from gentle rain while we lunch on fresh fruit and juices in a courtyard garden visited daily, we soon discover, by a longtailed hummingbird…the magic begins, and time starts to loosen…

Dollars spent, spanish practiced, bags full of gifts for loved ones back home ( and tummies full of fruit pie) we return to our casa for the week, El Meson De Flores. After a sunset walk in quiet Cotacachi we enjoy our healthy generous dinner in the enchanting hotel courtyard.  Another hummingbird visits at dusk.  Of course we finish of the evening with “his and hers” aromatherapy massages (exquisitely fragrant cardamom tonight) by our gifted local masseur…(no, we are not even thinking of cold, barren November days back home)

 Next on the agenda is the hike to Peguche waterfalls, another indigenous place of palpable power, spraying us on close passage with its fierce and awesome energy…Along the way we are greeted by smiling young Quechua children , hear stories of the local duendes, and rest at Casa Andina, a hosteleria built into and with the earth, stunning with its magnificent views of the surrounding areas…our Otavalenian hostess tells us of the spiritual energies that drift downward from shamanic ceremonies on the lands above…

Volcanoes mean thermal baths so of course we visit Chichambura and rejuvenate our cold Canadian bones gently in mineral baths of hotter and hotter temperatures escaliered upwards in the valley…after our eucalyptus steam bath we finish the day with incredibly good for us baro massages…mud facials.  Our second set of aromatherapy massages (yes, we are spoiled) back at El Meson leads us into deep sleep for the evening…

Today we are told, is Spa Day.  La Mirage has sculptured exotic gardens inhabited by irridescent hummingbirds and azure blue peacocks, all under the watchful eye of Imbabura, peaking in and out of the shifting clouds.  In gentle afternoon sunlight with andean flute music wafting in the air I relax in the veiled jacuzzi surrounded by bowls of fragrant roses, with views into the garden where yet more hummingbirds play…I swim in the quiet romanesque pool, detox in the eucalptus steam room, feel nurted in the firelit relaxation room…all this while my husband has his shamanic purification…my turn follows soon, exotic, ancient and healing…deep rejuvenation abounds.  Later that evening we treat ourselves to dinner at La Mirage, full of “little surprizes” and exquisitely prepared food..

We have been here 4 days, and already feel deeply nourished by the energies around us.  Time stretches and opens and we feel like we have already had our week of R and R.

The next day is pure adventure….travelling deep into the cloud forest between Otavalo and the coast, we are now at 1200m, lush green and rapid rivers everywhere, adventurous mountainous road rides, and a hike deep into the primary and secondary forests to visit glorious waterfalls. Glenn is an Indiana Jones look-alike in his sombrero and vine-swinging attire…

I am left with a sense that every day is an adventure, truly an opportunity to be in the moment and enjoy…and I keep coming back, but those are other stories.