While abroad in Ecuador, we’ve spent most of our time staying in one place. Putting down roots has given us an opportunity to make friends and get to know our new home of Cuenca.
But when Chad’s parents Nancy and Tom came to visit, we were excited to travel more and see other parts of Ecuador. Ecuador is an incredibly diverse country with beautiful beaches, high volcanic Andean mountains, cloud forests, and the Amazon rain forest.
Like normal, we headed out using local buses. We prefer traveling by bus because it gives us the chance to see the landscape without worrying about getting lost or getting a speeding ticket (or a speeding bribe!). It also gives us opportunities to have interesting conversations with local people sitting near us on the bus.
One of my favorite conversations was with an indigenous woman who was experiencing the rapid pace of change in a global society.
She was telling me about her life and about how her parents never learned Spanish. She spoke Kichwa (a common indigenous language here) at home, but she learned Spanish in school. Now, this woman’s children were learning English at school because it is required throughout Ecuador starting in elementary school.
Technology and global change have made our world a smaller place. Traditional cultures evolve and sometimes are lost very quickly. I know this reality intellectually, but nothing compares to having conversations with someone who is experiencing the reality first hand.
Scenes From the Road
We headed north from Cuenca. Here’s the map of our route. We stopped for the night in Riobamba before heading to Baños.
Here are a few pictures of the views as we headed up the Panamerican highway. Some of the pictures are a little blurry, but it just helps you get a feel for the windy highway. 🙂
These were some of the most spectacular views. We were above the clouds on this highway.
The trip between Cuenca and Riobamba was a long one (6.5 hours). Ali and I made many playdough cookies, cakes, and burgers, and Nancy taught Serena to be a card shark. They played cards for hours.
Chimborazo – Closest Point to the Sun!
Now here is the main reason I wanted to head north. I wanted to see Chimborazo!
Chimborazo volcano is the highest point in Ecuador at 6,263 meters (20,547 feet!!!) above sea level. Its peak is the farthest from the center of the Earth and also the closest to space on the whole planet. It’s even closer than Mt. Everest because it’s on the equator, which bulges out from the center of the earth.
Soon after soaking in these beautiful views of Chimborazo, we arrived in Baños de Agua Santo de Tungurahua. It was one of our favorite destinations. I’ll share more pictures and stories in the next article.