Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Botanical Gardens And Country Estates.......In Ambato, Ecuador

Several famous Ambateños have quintas or country homes that survived the years and are now on display for tourists to see.  While they were once considered country homes they are now on the edge of the city yet were still worth checking out. One such house is La Quinta de Juan Leon Mera, a famous author who's known for writing the words to the national anthem of Ecuador.  The house dates back to 1874 and houses period furnishings and wax figures to give visitors a glimpse of what life was like back in the day. The life-like figures are striking and made us feel like we were not alone inside the well kept dwellings.  The house sits on the banks of Rio Ambato in the suburb of Atocha some 2 kilometers from the center of town. 


Life Like Wax Figure
 
Borrowed Photos From Online
There Were No Other People There Today

Another Borrowed Photo With People That Were Not There




 



The house is one of the two located in the middle of Jardin Botanical La Liria, originally created by Dr. Nicholas Martinez Vazcones in 1849. The beautifully landscaped gardens contain more than 300 varieties of plants including species from five different continents. The first eucalyptus trees were brought to Ecuador from Australia in the 19th century by the Martinez family.  And there were plenty of plants from the native ecosystem which is dry scrub brush typically found in the Andes of Ecuador. 

National Anthem Of Ecuador



Also on the grounds is the museum and house of Martinez-Holguin. A large extended family lived here with many children.  Some of them went on to become well known within the community.  Some were painters, volcanologists and mountain climbers.  Although no photographs were allowed inside the houses I managed to find a few online to post here.

Botanical Gardens
 



From Cactus To Palm Trees And Everything In Between



Monument Nearby Gardens

Ambato River









 


After this is was lunchtime and we headed out to find some. Since there was nothing nearby we headed over to a more central part of town to eat at a local Mercado.  Once again I had a cheap meal of "llapingachos" (potato patties topped with egg) and Clyde had "caldo" (a type of chicken soup).  Our extravagant lunch set us back a whopping $4. But I think I've now had my fill of llapingachos and will be looking for other cheap meals next time we eat out.

Todays Lunch
 


While sitting there Clyde was taking photos of locals going by and one policeman even posed and asked to have his picture taken. An Andean couple walked by dressed in traditional fare and Clyde snapped their photo too.  The small man stopped to chat with Clyde in their native language Quichua.  Clyde explained that he didn't understand what he was saying, explaining that his Spanish was "mas or menos," more or less. To our surprise the man said, "ok then I'll speak English."  The couple took a seat at the next table but continued to look over at us.  A few minutes later the man approached us once again and offered his hand in a shake.  This time he spoke in Spanish asking IF we were Americans?  We said yes and he went on to say that I looked like an American but Clyde looked like he was from Ecuador.  After lunch we were tired from hiking up and down hills all day and decided to head back to the apartment.

Paying 15 Cents To Use Public Bathroom
The Man Is Giving Me Toilet Paper




Andean Woman In Marketplace


Clyde Was Fascinated With This Huge Mop

Policeman Who Asked Clyde To Take His Picture And Posed

Andean Couple That Chatted With Us At Lunch




Yesterday we set out to find a few more touristy spots only to discover that our first taxi driver had no idea where any of them were. He even radioed in asking for help but eventually gave up.  We changed our destination asking to be dropped off at another specific park.  Although it wasn't where we wanted to be we ended up in La Merced, a section of town with a monument of the first constitution. 

Monument Of Constitution



After walking around we flagged down another taxi and asked to be taken to a the monument of the first printing press. He acted like he knew where it was and asked why we were going there?  Clyde said we wanted to look at the view of the city from the mirador, or high point. So up we went and climbed out of the taxi in the middle of nowhere, with nothing around but another monument and a view of the city.  I was shocked when Clyde didn't ask the taxi to wait for us as I was certain that we would surely die. How could we possibly ever get another taxi up there when there was nothing around? After we took some photos we headed down the same road walking far enough until we reached civilization.  As we passed by some locals a women gleefully smiled at us and said, "buenas tardes, como esta usted," meaning good afternoon and how are you?  What she was probably thinking is, "look at those stupid lost tourists who have no idea where they are."  But at least she was friendly about it.  Eventually we managed to find a taxi and headed back to our neighborhood for the evening. 

Lookout Point On Top Of Ambato

Views Of Ambato




Headed Down



We headed out that evening to the park for another dog walk and stayed a while to watch the local kids play. The cool brisk wind blew through my hair before the dark clouds came bringing with it several inches of rain.  Once safe inside we watched a movie and chilled out for the night as another day came to an end......along the gringo trail.



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