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 do...lol - 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
still running...lol

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 everywhere...an 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!!!

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