love at first sight

we’ve arrived. and in less than 24 hours, david has fallen in love!

well, we both have.  with ecuador.

driving the 400+ miles from quito to cuenca yesterday took a full day–a trip we probably won’t do many times as it curves and switches, dips and climbs for eight solid hours.

it makes more sense to catch a quick flight and shorten the traveling time. but we wanted to see the countryside. and it is beautiful.

patchwork fields with crops planted almost vertically. fields of quinoa, corn, vegetables and other crops to be identified.dairy cows dot the landscape. sheep, donkeys and (we think we saw) a llama.

clear blue skies (when we weren’t in the clouds). brilliant green fields. agave plants (great for tequila). eucalyptus trees (brought here by the conquistadors and though beautiful, are terrible for the soil).two of the many facts our driver patricio shared with us as we sped through the andes.

i never expected to see dairy cows yet ecuador is stock full of them.  dairy Swiss and hereford are just two of the breeds. they graze on the side of mountains, left feet lower than the right. back feet higher than the front. speeding along the highway we passed numerous solitary cows and horses tethered to a branch close to the road. one brazen bovine parked her backside right on the line–for a brief second, it look like chopped steak to go!

people working in the field added splashes of color with their red wraps, green hats, ruddy cheeks and white teeth. men and women worked the fields in  what seemed to be leisurely fashion. with so much done by hand, you have to pace yourself i guess.

we stopped for al muero in a town called Colto. the three of us and our driver ate for $12. pollo y arbol (i think that is rice!), en salada, sopa de papa con frijoles y queso, y bananas with chocolate and cream. oh, and fresh juga.  amazing.  too much to eat. david and i could have split a plate and eaten for $1.50, not $3!

next to the restaurant stood one of the oldest churches in Ecuador ( i think). Built by the Spanish in 1564. The stone walls were a good 24″ thick.  lit candles created a peaceful reverent atmosphere. empty pews beckoned but we had miles to go before we slept.nice surprise in the middle of a busy day.

katherine purchased an alpaca stuffed animal from a street vendor and named him Bob. he’s her new best friend she says. make that her only friend in Ecuador.  give her a few days.  she’ll be fine.

so, you see why we are already in love with this place.  as i write this i am looking out our second story window.  one of the city’s four rivers is flowing across the street. IMG_0130people moving around at a leisurely pace.  a woman sweeps the sidewalk outside a new American restaurant. we ate there last night. Queen and the Blues entertained us while we ate hamburgers.  we decided this is a place we may return to occasionally when we need a “fix” from the USA. but from now our, most of our meals are local.

david has gone to the market. katherine is on her ipad.  (i hate that thing)

i’m using this time to allow my ankles which have swollen to the size of rhode island to shrink back to normal (say, Cleveland).  of the three of us, i’m having the hardest time with altitude..but it will pass in a day or so.

all is well in the vander plaats world.

i have so much to learn—but we have nothing but time.

greetings to you all.

(by now you now probably, but our phones and texting is out of commission. face book or email is the way to stay in touch. or through this blog.  buenas dias, mis amigos!)





19 thoughts on “love at first sight

    • so good to see you guys and can’t wait to see you in January (Lord willing as my dad would always add!) this is definitely a cooler place than Belize…so bring long pants! trust you are well. tell Gary i totally agree with him on the Kurt Wallander thing. we discovered the the original some time ago and felt there was no comparison. great minds, right? love you both!


    • why don’t you and your wife come for a visit? we feel like newbies but also at home. strange feeling. it will take time but it seems that with every day we are more settled. God is good! enjoyed reading more of your blog last night. you and your church have had some tough times. it seems God is using you there.


    • It is a great adventure, Martha. so thankful and blessed. we drove through Birmingham on our round the country tour and i so wanted to give you a call…but david was on a time table! you will always be a bright spot in my life…happy retirement to you. love your life between florida and alabama. beaches are beautiful. please give deb and karlene my best.


  1. Nancy, so very happy for you and your family!!! Live your dream! My husband and I have been to many countries but have not made it to Ecuador as yet. We’ve heard that is beautiful and will hopefully catch a glimpse of it through your writing. Best Wishes! Brenda (Walden) Blasko


    • so good to hear from you! thanks for your note. we are thoroughly enjoying it, although right at the moment katherine and i are feeling the effects of high altitude and new water! but we’ll be fine in a day or so. no biggie. great country. if you do make it to ecuador, please come see us!!! for real! thanks for reading the blog.


    • i could think of little that could make me happier than you and jeff coming to visit. think about it…once you guys retire! you can see your grandkids anytime!! 😉 i loved seeing you all together at disney. happy family times! we have room for you when you’re ready to book a flight. cheap tickets out of ft. lauderdale or miami!


  2. What an adventure! While I find it a little difficult, with these old eyes, to follow the text without the usual capital letters signaling beginning of a new sentence, I stick with it because I love learning about Ecuador from someone actually on the ground.


    • thanks for your comment. i have avoided capital letters since high school. not sure why. but i will take your words under advisement. if it makes it easier to read, maybe i should consider the extra effort! we’ll see! it used to bug my father to no end!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it would make it much easier to read, for those of us facing increasing vision challenges, certainly. I’m a reader, as in that’s how I spend most of my time, one way and another. I love what you have to say, so I stick with it. Some days it’s more difficult than others.


  3. I have just finished reading all, I think, your blogs from your US tour and Cuenca. Sounds really lovely and I’m so happy for you. Now is not the time to run out of Wellbutrin! Hope the move goes well. I think of you often.



    • So good to hear from you! I have missed talking to you. You seem so away. You must come visit. It’s beautiful. I refilled Wellbutrin. All is well. Will keep well stocked. We move and get our own place is 2.5 weeks. Can’t wait!


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