We arrived back in Ecuador Wednesday January 16. The flight was very late (delayed in Miami) so we slept in at Hotel Quito, enjoyed a steam and had the hotelís incredible tropical breakfast late. There are so many things in the breakfast you donít normally get in the U.S., blackberry and papaya juice, bread made from manioc, huge fresh figs, all types of really ripe fruit, mango, papaya, grenadia, and tropical fruits we never see up north. This is mango season so we really take advantage of that.
Then we drove out to our new home here for the winter in Ibarra (White City), the capital town of Imbaburra province. We chose this area because it is much drier and a bit lower in altitude than Quito (7500 feet versus 9200 feet). The drive out is always full of fascinating views, the locals so colorful, the buses all pinstriped and an array of different construction. Ecuador is a continual, eclectic mix.
The house is on a 65 acre plantation that sits atop a small plateau. View spread in each direction lush, green valleys. The house is in the Spanish style, high walls surrounding and huge arched wooden doors. The house is u-shaped with a long base. You enter at one short end into a courtyard with a swimming pool in the center and house on the right and other end of the court. On the left is a terraced garden rising to a high wall. The garden has many types of cactus, aloe vera, geraniums, purple ice plant, lots of waxy vines and maguey, hibiscus, oleander, creating a blaze of white, pink and orange, plus many herbs, rosemary, chives, sage, cidron and acacia tress all planted in four tiers each about two feet wide and rising 20 or so feet high, to a large stucco wall and then the traditional broken glass embedded in the top to keep out uninvited guests. In the middle of the patio which is totally ion Mexican tile is a good sized rectangular swimming pool. The house then runs like a large L all along the left of the court yard and around the end. Inside features high walls, small dark beams, thick white stucco walls with lots of windows to let the brilliant sunshine in. One side is total glass leading out onto the courtyard and pool. The modern kitchen is first. Hardwood cabinets with marble floors and counters. Merri will do most of the cooking but a cook- maid (Pilar) and gardener driver (Manuel) thrown into the deal as well. The kitchen leads through a large wooden swinging door into a good sized dining area. The furniture including a large dining table is Spanish Colonial, dark and heavy, (not my favorite but okay here amidst all the white and sun). A large living room comes next, with a chimineria type fireplace in one corner. Then a small office where I sit now behind a large roll top desk and then three bed rooms and bathrooms.
All the floors are either marble or Mexican tile, very cool and soothing to walk on in bare feet. The yard has thick, abundant grass and the views are outrageous leading off into valleys and hills with two peaked volcanoes (Imbabura and Cotacatchi) in the distance.
This is a perfect place to write, lots of views, peace and quiet. The walls are covered in classic books (all hard cover) Shakespeare, Omar Khayyam, Homer, Epictetus, Emerson, Bacon, Steinbeck, Doyle, Twain, Sinclair Lewis, Balzek, Defoe, Bacon and on and on. I might just read the next three months away! (If my scribblings improve you will know why!) The weather is warm, but dry no air conditioning needed and just a little fire in the evening, more for morale than out of need. Three blankets needed at night with the mornings crisp and cool. So much sun we have to take care as we can burn to a crisp as it feels so good with the cool breeze.Join us at the hotel Quito for our courses and come visit this hacienda (which by the way is for sale).