As I type Roman’, the owner of the El Roy Hotel where we are staying in Cotacachi, is serenading Kathy and me with Ecuadorian music while his wife, Manuela, harmonizes and serves us mojitos. It is a magical ending to an amazing day.
It started wonderfully with a breakfast prepared and served by Anita of the hotel staff, dressed in native costume. Roman’ came into the room and asked if we would like Manuela and him to take us on a tour of the area. “Sure!” We had no idea of the wonders the day would bring. Where, but where, would guests at a hotel receive such royal treatment?
We spent the day getting a cultural immersion. Everywhere we went, the beauty of the mountain setting around us set the tone. We visited the wood carving city of San Antonio and watched people at work in the shops. We saw the beautiful Laguna (Lake) Yahuarcocha surrounded by mountains. It is famous for the Formula One race held there, and we followed along the track. We watched ice cream making in a local shop and tasted the homemade treat. We had never seen ice cream made in a stainless steel pot lodged in ice as it was stirred by human hands with a huge spatula, the ice cream slowly being separated from the cream. Italian gelato, you have a rival. We drove through neighborhoods and cities to see how people lived, with wonderful commentary by our hosts. We toured a neighborhood where expats retiring to Cotacachi congregate and even walked through a beautiful home that was for sale. Everywhere the mountains loomed above. We visited one of the oldest restaurants in Ecuador. The grounds were fabulous. Our new friends, Roman’ and Manuela held their wedding dinner there. Along the way, we learned that Roman’ was a retired Ecuadorian army colonel and Manuela had been an Ecuadorian diplomat to Panama and was also a two term senator to the Ecuadorian Congress.
We felt truly honored and privileged to experience such a day. WEG