It´s crazy the things you can be talked into doing while sitting in the Secret Garden in Quito. While enjoying a quiet meal with some people, I met some Dutch people there who were telling us about this hostel up near Cotopaxi volcano that has no electricity or any of that high-tech stuff, but it does have scenary and a cheap mid week package. The owners are the same people who own the Secret Garden in Quito and to get the word out about the new place, they were offering a week´s trip there with all meals included, a hike, and a trek to the glacier for $99! News of this spread fast around the table and soon enough we had a gang of 6 ready to head off the following morning to the big volcano.
Our gang consisted of Lisette and Arwen from Holland, Kylie a corporate lawyer from Australia, Angela the Geordie from England and Jessica from Texas. Cotopaxi National Park is around an hour and a half from Quito in the various forms of transport we took, taxo, bus and pickup truck.
The people promising us a week of tranquility and relaxation weren´t joking. We were the only people there (they only have 8 beds anyway) and it was like staying in someone´s house for a week. We hung out in their living room, had dinner in their dining room, and tried to make sense of what the bilingual 2 year old was saying. Things got a little quiet around the place when the sun went down at 6pm and watching candles burning suddenly became a hobby of mine. Took me until our last day there to finally stop searching the bedroom walls in the dark looking for the light switch, why would an electricity-less house have switches??
They´re very eco friendly and trying to live self suffienciently to make up for the fact that they drive a 4X4. The hostel has a toilet with a massive window so you can sit there and watch the volcano. They´re trying to find a ´Best Loo with a View´ competition to enter their toilet in.
The highlight of the week was the glaciar trek. Snow capped mountains always seem so high I never thought I´d actually get up there to touch the ice. But to make our week as relaxing as possible we were driven most of the way up. Only had to trek at almost a 90 degree angle in lava for an hour and half to reach the camp! From there it was only another half an hour across the red to reach the ice! The guide asked us if we´d heard about this global warming malarky and if we thought it was true or what. I said I’d read about it in a newspaper so it has to be true!! HE brought us to a gushing stream to prove it to us in case we´d any doubts. That ice was flying out of there! I thought global warming would be like a clock, it moves but you can´t really see it moving. This ice, which was then water, was flowing down that mountain as if it didn´t care our existence depended on it staying put. The hostel owner told us there´s another theory going round; that the ice is melting from the volcano heating up and becoming more active. While standing near the top of ‘said volcano’ the global warming theory was a lot more comforting.
I think pictures will do this more justice that my waffling. So here´s a few:
First, the view from my bathroom.
Here you can see the ice and the lava!
This is the refuge we trekked to in record time (according to our guide who probably says that to everyone to help them get over they fact that they want to roll down the volcano in exhaustion)
The 6 ladies with the guide and Spanish instructor. I wasn´t really as angry as I look.
Woohoo! Look how high we got!
The hostel. Blue building was our pad.
One of our many candlelit suppers.
Tags: Cotopaxi, Ecuador