We never really knew what to expect from Ecuador. Before arrival we knew that Ecuador is a small country that grows coffee and cocoa, we also knew it was neither the richest or poorest in South America and that the President was a somewhat radical character (sheltering Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for one). Other than this we knew little about the place so we arrived pretty much without preconceptions.
Thanks to our Spanish course we spent seven weeks in Ecuador in the end, far longer than we’ll spend anywhere else. Also thanks to the Spanish course we were able to live with some of the locals and really get a little more under the skin than we’ll be able to do anywhere else.
We were due to start our first week of Spanish lessons on the 12th of October. Before we left home we’d found Montanita Spanish school online, and read lots of good reviews, they offered something unique to other schools: a ‘travelling classroom’ consisting of four weeks of Spanish lessons in four different locations in Ecuador. The package included all transfers and accommodation, most meals and lots of activities, meaning we could still see the country and learn at the same time.
We’d been communicating by email with the school over the past few weeks concerning a few questions and getting the balance paid. They’d sent us the address and phone number for the family we’d be staying with in Quito. We’d worked out our route back to Quito and from Terminal Quitumbe (the southern bus terminal of Quito) up to the north of the city where we’d be staying. The bus from Latacunga went smoothly, watching the countryside pass by and trying in vain to see the famous snow-capped Cotapaxi volcano that has been showing signs of activity recently (it was permanently shrouded in cloud for our whole visit to the area, except for one fleeting glimpse on the last day in Quito!).
We had a couple of nights in Bogota before the flight that we’d booked to Quito, Ecuador. We got back to our hotel and the staff were all pleased to see us. In many ways it is the closest to a homecoming that we’ll get in the next 6 months so it was nice to back somewhere that we knew. Having had a brief taste of home with our Indian food in Salento and still craving spice, we had dinner that evening at an Indian in Usaquen. Although it was not a cheap meal it was as good as a curry back home and a welcome change!