Chimborazo peaks through
Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
16Trip End Feb 03, 2012
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After breakfast, they give us a tour first of their lovely chapel that is still in use and is the site of the family weddings. After a farewell, including a rose for each of us, we continue down their road to their rose farm and processing center, Rosedex
We spend the rest of the day driving south, bypassing Quito, on our way through the Avenue of Volcanoes. The countryside, when revealed by beaks in the fog and misty clouds, glows in diverse shades of green.
We stop for lunch at La Cienega, the former hacienda now a hotel,just outside the Cotopaxi (volcano) Park. It is massively thick, built with 6-foot deep stones carved from volcanic rock and designed on the typical interior courtyard plan. The courtyard at La Cienega is very large indicating the overall size of the building. It would be interesting to get lost wandering it's hallways. After lunch and the now familiar concert (guitars, pan pipes and drum- I buy the CD), Gonzalo leads us around the hallways of the mail floor, stopping in rooms that are very cold. The thick stone might be good for fending off earthquakes and invading armies, but not a great idea for warmth as many castle owners and visitors can attest. We walk across the courtyard to visit their lovely chapel.
The old haciendas were farmed by the indigenous people who were virtually slaves. They were "given" plots of land to farm and then either owed money or produce to the owner
At one point in the afternoon we pull off the road. The sun briefly shines clearly against the peaks of Chimborazo Volcano, revealing its glacier rimmed top at about 20,000 feet. A glorious photo op! Gonzalo is proud to note that while Chimborazo is not the tallest mountain by height above sea level, its location along the equator makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth's surface from its center. Take that, Alps!
We eventually pull into Riobamba. Eduardo carefully navigates down a narrow road made even tighter by its fringe of fenced homes and turns into the parking area of our hotel for the evening.
Most of us have rooms in a smaller building, and spend our time, while waiting for our luggage to arrive, visiting each others unique and lovely rooms. A few bottles of local red wine are opened and a party commences. Salud!