Hello, Andes Mountains - My Family Travels

Hiking the Andes Mountains, seeing extraordinary waterfalls, finding exotic foods, and living without Internet was not on my "To-Do" list this summer. Originally, I was planning on visiting my parents' home country, Ecuador, just to see family and go to the beach. It would be just another typical summer. However, my summer took an enexpected turn once I arrived. On July 5th, 2011, my parents decided to take my sister and I, along with my uncle, aunt, and two cousins, on a week-long road-trip from Manta, which is located on the coast of Ecuador in the province of Manabi, to the city of Baños de Agua Santa which is located in the Andes Mountains.

When we got into the car, I didn't expect what was to come. Driving through the Andes Mountains is the most terrifying experience I've had! There are so many twists, turns, narrow roads on the edge of mountains, and random cows. The best thing on the road was seeing numerous waterfalls, peacefully flowing from the tops of the mountains. I had never seen such a beautiful sight. At this point, I was becoming excited to see where we were going. We traveled all morning and finally stopped to get some breakfast. Everyone in the restaurant was dressed so differently than what I was used to. My mom told me it was the typical style of the people in that area, due to the extreme cold weather. I thought the dress was unfamiliar, until I found out what they served for breakfast. Their eggs were dipped in beef or chicken juice, whatever that meant. They served cow tongue, liver, and even guinea pigs. I wanted to puke. I got some bread hoping it would be normal and safe to eat.

When we finally arrived in Baños of Agua Santa that afternoon, I was amazed at the town. It was so simple with its small buildings, traditional roads, and immense mountains surrounding it. I already loved it. We walked around and checked in at a small hotel, "Hotel Mary" and went to bed. The next day, we woke up at 6 A.M. ready to explore. We went to a restaurant at the top of a mountain named "Runtun Restaurant". Then, we found a tour bus that took us to all the waterfalls in the area. We took a trip over one of them in a basket looking machine, "La Taravita". It was amazing flying above the waterfall, hearing it roar right below my feet, and feeling terrified of falling into the deep valley. After, to find the last two waterfalls, we had to hike through the mountains. I thought it would be easy. It was the most tiring day of my life but I have to admit, the sights were absolutely beautiful! Even though I was completely out of breath afterward, it was worth every step!

We went back to the hotel and I realized how much fun I had without a computer. I am a huge Internet freak, always socializing or blogging. The time I was away, I realized there is more to do in life than sit all day surfing the web. There is so much to be seen outside and so many ways to enjoy nature! I thought I would never love being outdoors like that, but the trip changed my perspective on the outdoor world. Now, I can't wait until I get the chance to explore more countries, learning new things along the way. The trip that was supposed to be boring turned into the best trip of my life. 

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