Have Suitcase Won’t Travel

There is an Ecuadorian superstition that goes like this: If you run around the block with your suitcase at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, you will travel a-plenty in the months to come. Well, I must not have done it correctly, because I’m cancelling my third trip …

The Volcano Hunters

Tungurahua, or El Volcan, as it is known, is beloved by both locals and tourists alike in Ecuador. None more fanatical than the Volcano Hunters, a group of fans constantly on the lookout for Baños’ most famous denizen. The Hunters know the best time to catch a glimpse of the Volcan (7.00 …

Indestructible Brownie

While in Baños, I stayed at one of those eco-friendly hotels, you know the type: granola, sandals, rustic bread. It was a peaceful place some distance from the town centre, with stunning scenery and the sound of the rushing river. With its bright wooden floors and homemade jams, it felt …

Volcanic rock therapy

The Refugio Sanctuary in Baños is a tranquil place full of flowers, trees and tropical birds. But that’s where the peace ended. My health therapy consisted of five hours of being caked in mud, steamed, ionized, massaged like a sumo wrestler, cleansed everywhere, and I mean EVERYwhere, made to drink pints …

Cocoon

Arriving in Cuenca from Baños involved a taxi, a national bus, a domestic flight and the last reserves of my energy. From visits as a child, I fondly remembered the laid-back little town near the water. I was surprised to encounter a sprawling city, almost as large as Quito. Our hotel was on the outskirts of town, …

Señor Hat

Early this morning we set off for Otavalo, a town north of Quito. Otavalo is famous for its Saturday artisan market, which I am told is the largest in all the Americas. A great many crafts and indigenous weavings are sold, including the infamous Panama Hat, or Sombrero de Toquilla, …

Feliz Año Nuevo

We celebrated New Year’s Eve by taking a stroll in the Centro Historico and gawking at the cathedrals Quito is famous for. I wanted to take a photo of La Compania de Jesus, but was stopped in mid-flash by an officious toad who refused to budge on the rules, even on …

La Mitad Del Mundo

The first thing they tell you about La Mitad Del Mundo is that it is not actually situated in the correct place. It was erroneously calculated pre GPS by French scientists. The true Divide is located some 300 yards away. Except we were told that’s not really the right place either. GPS or no …

Writing Retreat

 Four opinionated and independent women writers in the same house for a week – sounds like a recipe for disaster. But I don’t think I’ve ever been as relaxed as I was in Cornwall. The weather was gorgeous. The house stunning – perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. The company …