Monday, April 3, 2017

MD - Fun with Family Post Ecuador

Family pic...kinda
We missed you, Adam.  Hope you feel
better soon!

Family pic...seriously

It is ALWAYS a special time for me when I go home to spend time with my family!!!  Even though we keep in close touch through phone calls and texting, it's the hugs I miss!  The group laughter is right up there, too!  So, this visit, I spent a lot of time hugging, laughing and watching my family enjoy each other!  It was a particularly delightful two weeks.  Thanks, gang!  See you again real June!!!
A Grammy sleepover with the much fun

Cameron practicing his
French horn

This electronic dog, Chip, was amazing!
Cameron even had him dance for me!

Impromptu wrestling moment...
it's a mom sandwich!

Leon taking his vitamins like
a good puppy

Loki taking her vitamins like
a good puppy

Mine and Rachel's first team puzzle

It was so much fun, we did
another one!

Nicole and Jesse at our family potluck

My genius multi-tasking son...
eating veggies and hugging's not forget Megan
the beautiful photo-bomber!

Amy and Tanya donning their alpaca
hats and scarves from Ecuador

Hugs and laughter

Jay and Loki just in from playing

Rachel and Megan

The aftermath of a silly string
battle with my sister!

 Canon consoling daddy (Adam) and
helping him feel better

Sunrise at my son's house...
I can only imagine how much
more lovely it was behind
 all the 'stuff'
Still pretty darn amazing!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

ECUADOR - Wrapping It Up in Quito!

View from our room at the
Howard Johnson's

 Before we got on the road to Quito, we hung around the Hacienda taking a few more pictures and just admiring the over all ambiance.  I had started feeling out of sorts the night before...dry cough, dry it was great that it only took us about an hour and a half to drive to Quito, our final destination.  Bud and I walked into town to find a pharmacy to get a decongestant, vitamin C and Hall's thinking that would take care of my symptoms.  By mid afternoon, I had a low grade fever of 101.4 and chills that I couldn't shake.  I went to bed and Bud went out for a walk and returned later that day with Tylenol...Go, Bud!!!  While he was gone, I called down for some fruit tea and a pitcher of water in an attempt to keep hydrated.  I slept that whole day more or less.  When Bud called down for dinner, he ordered chicken soup for me.  It was the only thing I had eaten and it tasted wonderful. The Tylenol had begun its magic and my fever was down to 100.7.  That as well as more sleep through the night enabled me to wake with no fever and enough energy to take a slow walk through the park.

This is just a tiny bit of what was
 The breakfast buffet there at the Howard Johnson was incredible...unfortunately, I had no appetite.  So, with only a cup of hot tea in my belly, Bud and I went to the park.
     This park was like nothing I had ever seen.  It is called Parque La Carolina and covers 165 acres.  It is situated right in the middle of Quito's central business district.   There was something there for everyone.  There were at least 5 playgrounds each with equipment for specific ages, skate parks for bicyclists and skateboarders and areas designed for aerobic exercise.

An actual jet painted by the local children

Check out that look!

Look at all the colors!!!

Even the trash cans were

Soooo cute!  I hope he doesn't have
much farther to

Three generations and a friend of
the family

 You could play soccer, basketball, and volleyball.  Kites were flying, people of all ages were on the walking/running trails, and others were having snacks that could be purchased from the many vendors.  At one end of the park was a meandering pond for paddle boating enthusiasts and at the other end was a botanical garden.  There were artists and performers of various kinds also. It was delightful to see families out enjoying each other on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
By of my favorite
photos from the entire trip!

Silly me!

You have heard of a fire breathing dragon...
THIS is a cotton candy breathing man...LOL

Hoe sweet is this?

Bud was dancing across from this little
guy...he really got him going!
So great!

     Our flight back to Atlanta, Georgia was at 11:15 PM, so around 6:00 we packed up and left to return our rental.  We then spent the next 3 hours hanging out at the  It was hard to believe that our spectacular adventure was coming to a close.  Memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you, Bud!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

ECUADOR - Latacunga - Crater Lake and The Hacienda la Cienega

I love cobblestone

Fog drifting in behind us

In the morning, we left immediately after breakfast and headed off to Crater Lake which was awesome.  On the way, we passed a section through the mountain where the heavy rains had caused a rock slide.  There were men shoveling up rocks and dumping them over the side.  We arrived at the lake just in time, too.  Approximately 20 minutes later, the fog started moving fast and it covered the entire lake...visibility - zero!   Still, there were folks taking a donkey ride down to the base. We had a pretty lame pizza at a cafe there, but I did find great hats for a few family members while there though...that was terrific!
     We continued to drive before stopping for the night.   We ran into another online vs. real life hotel situation.  We did go in just to see and it was like a ghost town and the woman and young girl acted like they had never seen a guest before.  Online it stated that this hotel was staffed to accommodate the needs of world travelers - not so much.  We left, searched again for a place and moved on down the road a short distance toward it.  We were led down yet another muddy bumpy road.  At one point, we thought we could see what might be the hotel through the trees and fences.  We turned around - our favorite thing to - and went in the direction we thought would take us there.

Wow...suddenly right in front of us was a tall opened wrought iron gate that led us on a long canopied road to what appeared to be a castle!  It was the Hacienda la Cienega.  We were met at the door by a gentleman dressed in a white starched shirt, perfectly pressed trousers, a bow tie and a warm welcoming smile.
     After we were guided to our room and got a little settled, we toured this amazing place.  Hallways, dining rooms, sitting areas, a music room, a chapel, gardens, courtyards, cows and llamas roaming around loose. horses, an old playground and pool, tennis courts, and on and on.  It was incredible.
These ornate carvings were
on much of the furniture

Roaming free

Thanks Bud for this shot!

Cotopaxi, an active stratovolcano, as
 seen from the Hacienda.  Its last eruption
lasted from Aug. 2015-Jan. 2016
It's the second highest summit in Ecuador
at 19, 347 feet 

Entrance to the chapel

Bites still itching and nose

This was the only rose amidst the thick bramble

In the chapel

A mighty mushroom

This magical place was built back in the 17th century, we think.  It wreaked of royalty.  Yet, it was as welcoming as anyplace we had been during our adventure in Ecuador.

 There was history oozing out of every nook and cranny.  Funny, though, there was little information there and next to nothing online...weird.  Imagining what it was like in its hay day was fascinating.  Lots of kids, loyal staff, activities absolutely delightful vision!
     Our room was spacious, but cold...despite three heaters and a fireplace.  There seems to be some resistance to piping heat into any building in Ecuador...gotta love plenty of blankets!!!