So my mum came to visit me here in Ecuador! She finally came to see this beautiful country that I’ve been living in and talking about for the past 4 months.
My lovely landlady and her daughter accompanied me to the airport to go and pick up my mum!
So here it goes. My mum arrived on Sunday afternoon and left the following Sunday. It was an amazing week, full of adventure, running for buses, laughter and many “WOW!”s. I’m so grateful she was able to make it happen and come to this side of the world! Here’s what we got up to during our week together:
Cumbayá is a valley, just outside of Quito where my university is located and where I’ve been living for the past 4 months. We stayed in this area on Sunday evening and all day on Monday. On Monday, in between classes, which have now finished (yay!), I introduced my mum to the world of almuerzos which is a standard three dish set menu of soup, a main and dessert. They usually cost between $2.50 to $3 and are the best way to taste local Ecuadorian food. I enjoyed showing my mum around Cumbayá as it’s such a beautiful bubble, it doesn’t fully represent Quito but it is nice to be in a tranquil area, with quiet, steep roads that leave you thinking you’re in a suburb of greater London.
We headed into Quito on Tuesday morning and spent the whole day exploring this intriguing city. In the morning, we went on the Teleferico which is a cable car that goes to the top of Rucu Pichincha mountain, one of the many mountains that surrounds the city of Quito. It was super cloudy so we couldn’t see Quito from the top, however, we got these cheesy photos taken whilst at the top which was full of laughs!
In the afternoon, we did a free walking tour of the old historic center of Quito, which is located in the southern part of the city. The tour is 3 hours long and whilst it sounds long, it isn’t bad as there are many stops and it’s done at a medium pace – so you can enjoy the sights of the city whilst learning historic facts. Fun fact: there is street called ‘Las siete cruces’ on which you can find seven churches literally as that is the translation of the street name.
Further Reading: First Time I did the Walking Tour
The walking tour was good, it was my second time doing it and I found it just as interesting as the first time. I definitely recommend doing walking tours when visiting a new city as it gives you a sense of direction, helps you feel like you’re part of the city and gives you the opportunity to connect with fellow travellers. Before we left on our tour, we spoke to a family from Florida who were travelling around Ecuador for two weeks and we bumped into them 3 days later in Alausí, a town 6 hours from Quito – the world is so big yet so small! This isn’t the first time this has occurred and it definitely won’t be the last – which is so exciting!
We took an evening bus from Quito (Terminal Quitumbe) to Baños ($4 per person) which took about 3.5 hours. We stayed at Erupcion Art Hotel and Hostel, for two nights, on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. On Wednesday we had a lie in, ventured outside of our hostel around 1.30pm, and despite the late start, we managed to fit in quite a few activities – we went on a tour of various viewpoints in Baños, including the famous Casa de Arbol translates to Tree House and Vuelo del Condor translates to Flight of the Condor. I’m so proud of mum! Watch the video below to see her go on these scary, but really fun swing and conquer one of her fears – so proud of her! And then me too 🙂
On Thursday we only had the morning to spend in Baños as we planned to head to Alausí in the afternoon. So we visited the famous waterfall, Cascada Pailon del Diablo which is absolutely huge. It’s so humbling and awe-inspiring to see nature in it’s full force. It makes me so excited to see the famed Iguazu Falls next month, I just know it’s going to be absolutely incredible.
We took a bus from Baños to Riobamba (cost $2 per person) and then from Riobamba to Alausí (cost $2.35 per person) as we couldn’t find a direct bus. We came to this town for the famous Nariz del Diablo (translates to The Devil’s Nose) train ride. I had wanted to do this specific train ride before I had even stepped foot in Ecuador, as it looks so incredible! It’s offered by Trenecuador, leaving from Alausí train station, stopping first to see the beauty that is the mountain – Nariz del Diablo – and then at Sibambe station before returning to Alausí station. In total, the trip was 2.5 hours and cost $33 per person, it was so worth it. The views of the mountains are absolutely stunning and it’s a trip my mum and I will never forget, super grateful!
Any resemblance? 🙂
All in all, Alausí is a peaceful, tranquil town with friendly locals and spectacular mountains. Also, it’s super safe, locals mentioned this several times and the front doors of the hostel are even left open well into the evening. We stayed at the Community Hostel Alausí, I highly recommend this hostel, it is newly built, has hot water, good Wifi and stunning views of the mountains from the bedroom windows.
Further Reading: First Train Journey in Ecuador
We began the journey back to Quito on Friday afternoon, straight after our train trip and we arrived home around 11pm. It was a long day but we made so many unforgettable memories – so worth it!
On Saturday we spent the day in Quito. We headed to the artesian market where my mum bought gifts for everyone back at home. It was a lovely day of exploring and admiring the amazing artwork and crafts of Ecuadorian people. There is so much talent here, as there is all over the world, that needs to be shared and enjoyed by so many more people.
I’m so glad I got to spend this week with my mum, it was filled with lots of fun and laughter and despite everything that life throws, it has reminded me of my treasures – my family <3 I love and miss everyone so much!
The next country I’m heading to is Peru, at the end of this week, which is going to be AMAZING! I’m so excited!
Until next time,
Omamick (my new nickname – long story short Omams is still too hard for many people to pronounce- Lol!)