We leave the lovely Hacienda Leito for a Saturday morning drive to Cotopaxi. Our first stop is a local commercial produce market. Local farmers come by taxi (pickup trucks) with their bundles of home-grown produce. Buyers, which I assume are mostly restaurant owners, bargain and stack their purchases near the parking area for loading.
With a few small bananas, we board our bus and for our next stop at an artisan shop to view his art work. He gives us a demonstration of his painting on Sheepskin and I purchase an interesting painting. He uses the many legends of his region to create his art.
Our lunch stop today is at the home of another artist. This was one of the best meals of our trip and the home was amazing. Each room is a work of art…
After lunch we take a short drive to the Rose Success Plantation in the Andes. Here we learn about growing, sorting, packaging and shipping roses….lots of roses. Ecuador is the world’s 3rd largest exporter of flowers and about 75% are roses.
We reach the Hacienda La Cienega in the late afternoon and check into our rooms. Our guide invites us to visit a dairy farm near the Hacienda before dinner to learn about farm life in the Andes and Cotopaxi.
After a very active day, it’s time to relax at our Hacienda for dinner and a good nights sleep. The Hacienda La Cienega is over 400 years old and one of the oldest colonial haciendas in Ecuador. When entering through the eucalyptus tree-lined driveway, you can feel the greatness of this estate. It includes multiple sitting room, incredible art, antiques and its own Chapel. Each room is unique and many are huge suites.
Tonight we are entertained by a local band and enjoy local specialties at dinner including shrimp ceviche, served with popcorn.
Today we covered a lot of ground and I’m ready for a good nights sleep in my lovely room.