We finished our salsa class just a couple of hours ago but the dancing started much earlier in the day as we enjoyed Ecuadorian music on our day trip through the countryside on the Train of the Volcanoes.
Our day began at 6:20 in the hotel lobby, where we met to pick up our breakfast that the hotel staff had packed for us to take on the train. We arrived at the train station around 7a.m. to check in and show our passports. We boarded a little before 8 a.m. and had one train car for our group and a handful of people from Ecuador.
Our train ride took us from Quito (elevation: 9,110 feet) through Machachi (elevation: 10,134 feet) to Boliche (elevation: 11,637 feet). Along the way we were treated to idyllic views of the Ecuadorian countryside as we saw mountains and green rolling hills, a variety of trees and several animals in the fields, including cows, pigs, rabbits, sheep, horses, roosters, and a few alpacas and llamas. Up to this point the students had only seen Quito, an urban area home to some 2 million people. Today, we saw rural Ecuador, where the livestock and agriculture replace the buildings and infrastructure. Several people who live along the route came out of their houses to wave at us as we passed.
We played cards and enjoyed the views as we rode the train toward Boliche, with one stop along the way to stretch and do a little shopping. It was overcast, so we couldn’t see the snow-capped volcanes that are along the route … but we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we’ll see them later in the trip on the way to or from Baños.
When we arrived at Boliche, we saw three alpacas … and their owner hiding in the background.
The temperature was a little cooler than Quito and it was drizzling but we put on our rain jackets so we could do a short hike at Boliche.
Our guide Jorge, who was on the train with us all day, took us on a 30-minute hike narrated in Spanish as he explained the plant life and talked about several of the trees in the area, including some that need 35 liters of water a day.
It started to rain more as we finished the hike and returned to the train to start the trip back to Quito. Since the guides had narrated the trip on the way to Boliche, they turned up the music on the way back and encouraged all of us to sing and dance. It didn’t take long for our group to join in the fun as the music started and the dancing and clapping began. Kiley and Charlotte got us started and almost everyone joined in afterward.
We stopped at the Machachi stop for lunch and despite the rain we received this greeting.
We finished lunch in about an hour but had another hour to wait before the train departed. There was a little stand set up near the station selling gifts, and several students bought some souvenirs while others played cards … or styled hair.
We returned to the hotel around 6:30 with a little singing on the bus. (This song is for you, Don Panvestre!)
We started our salsa class at 6:40. We did well … perhaps the videos will do the class more justice than my summary.
We had dinner in the hotel and packed our bags before calling it a night, as we won’t be back in Quito until Wednesday when we catch our flight home. We’ve enjoyed our time here and are excited to spend time in smaller cities and towns as we head out of Quito tomorrow afternoon. We’ll begin the day tomorrow with a trip up the cable car along the side of Volcán Pichincha followed by a trip to the equator and lunch nearby at the Puluahua Crater before arriving in Otavalo and then our hotel in Ibarra.
What was the best part of the day? Here is what Kyra and Grace thought:
Our WiFi has been fantastic in Quito and I’m hoping for the same in Ibarra so we can keep updating the blog each night.
Thanks for reading!