Beautiful Sights of Ecuador

Madison Hurley
January 26, 2017

Friday January 20th and Saturday January 21st we had a Quito City Tour and went to Otavalo to do some exploring and to the indigenous market. USFQ set up the city tour and the events taken place saturday were coordinated by IES Abroad. The city tour began with us visting Itchimbia Park. the park is located at the top of Itchimbia hill. the summit sits at 2,900 meters (~9,500ft). The park gives you a beautiful view of the city Quito and its surrounding mountains. Our second stop on the city tour was Plaza de Independencia in Quito. In the middle of the plaza is the main monument to the independenc heroes, August 10 1809. This date is remembered as the First Cry of Independence. This plaza is the main square of Quito. Here we went to the museum and learned about the indigenous culture and the beginning of civilization. After the museum we headed to the church "Compañia de Jesús". The construction of the church began in 1605 and was completed in 1765. The inside of the church is decorated in gold leaf and wood carvings from top to bottom. 

Saturday was a long but very exciting day. We headed off to Otavalo around 6:45am got breakfast and began our journey at the Bosque Protector Cascada de Peguche. This forest is home to a 50 foot tall waterfall "Cascada de Peguche". The waterfall is considered and indigenous ceremonial site. the waterfall orginates at the foot of the Imbarbura Volcano. There are a few legends associated with this waterfall but the most popular one states that a "golden bowl guarded by two black dogs is located inside the waterfall. Beside the bowl is the Devil holding a plate of sand. Day by day the sand on the plate will wash away until it empties and at that moment in time the Devil will take the soul of anyone who enters the waterfall at that moment." After exploring the forest we headed over to the Otavalo Indigenous Market. There we had a few hours to shop for local products. I bought a few things for myself and family members like a few pieces of jewlery including an Incan Calender necklace, two alpaca blankets, and alpaca sweater etc. We finished out day exploring Cuicocha, a crater lagoon based at the bottom of Cotacachi Volcano. The lagoon was created about 3100 years ago when a massive phreatic eruption occured and the volcano has been dormant since then. The lagoon sits at 3,246m (~10,650ft) high and contains four lava dome islands. We had a boat tour of the lagoon but it was pretty foggy so you could not see much until we got very close to the islands. 

Every week here in Ecuador is an adventure and I can't wait to make more memories here as the weeks and months progress. I just finished my first week of module one classes and am preparing for my week long field trip to the coast. I'm so excited for new oppertunities and experiences as I finish up the month of January here in Ecuador. 

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Madison Hurley

<p>Hello!! My name is Madison, I&rsquo;m Massachusetts made and currently a junior at the University of Maine majoring in Marine Science and minoring in Spanish. I love the ocean and can sometimes be a science nerd so I am really looking forward to spending my time in the Galapagos Islands, where Darwin happened to discover evolution. I enjoy drawing, taking photos with my GoPRo, and snorkeling/diving. Follow me to stay updated on my underwater adventures!</p>

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