Fountain in Atrium of La CienegaEntrance to La Cienega
Chapel at La Cienega
The valley south of Quito is green and rolling, with farms and rose plantations and cows and sheep and horses in the pastures. Cotopaxi was shrouded in fog and clouds as we drove along the 'Valley of the Volcanoes'. We passed the Ilinizas, Ruminahui, Corazon, as well as Cotopaxi. La Cienega is a old hacienda, and was a working farm for hundreds of years, owning huge amounts of property. It was restored as a hotel in 1972. It has a lovely atrium with a fountain and flowers, and lovely big rooms with metre thick walls. A fireplace burns in each room. The first task on our agenda was to find horses to ride, but it turned out that it was too late and we would have to wait until the morning, so we booked for 9 AM the following day. We ran into a family of Americans, the parents of whom are working at the American Embassy. Maya had a blast running around the grounds of the hacienda with the three children, twin boys age 8 and a ten year old girl named Blanca. The children did not stop playing until we dragged Maya back to our room for bed.
Bianca, Luke, Nicholas, Maya and Eric
We all watched the futbol game between Ecuador and Uruguay on a tiny ancient television in the bar of the hacienda, which was frustrating because Ecuador, although controlling the ball in the first half of the game, fizzled out in the second half and ultimately lost the game and may not make it to the World Cup. Now I can understand the need for riot police. I wonder about the reaction of the thousands of fans after watching their team lose rather miserably.
Cotopaxi never showed itself, although on a clear day it is probably visible from the hacienda. We will ride horses in the morning and venture to Cotopaxi National Park tomorrow afternoon.