Sunday, January 21, 2018 - Nangulvi Hot Springs in IntagToday we woke up early for a family excursion to the hot springs. We first visited Nangulvi last year when Paulina and Eddy came with us from Guatemala. At that time, Sisa, Yupanqui, and Shina had never been swimming before. The lakes around here are just way too cold due to the altitude. When they would take a bath in a large plastic tub, Shina would try to swim in the confined space. They were overjoyed to finally get a chance to swim in a real pool. Shina couldn't stop talking about the "piscina" (pool) for days afterwards, so today we dubbed it the "piSHINA."
Sonam also was excited to go...up until several weeks ago, he also had never been swimming. But prior to meeting us in Ecuador, he had spent several weeks visiting his sister and her family in Bangkok. There is a pool where they live, and he taught himself to swim while there!
We all met in the kitchen for breakfast of fried plantain tostones, bread, ham, cheese, coffee, and juice. The kids are prone to carsickness, and had a rough time on the mountainous roads last year. Today, we gave them each a Bonine tablet at breakfast to try to prevent trouble.
After breakfast, the kids gave us gifts. They gave me a lovely blue cardigan, and Craig got a nice grey harlequin sweater. The kids gifted Sonam some traditional Otavalan clothing: white trousers, a collared white long sleeved shirt, and white espadrilles. What a sweet gesture to share their culture with someone from halfway around the world!
I fed Cachupin a granola bar. He was quite adept at catching it when I tossed it into the air.
Hector arrived in the van to pick us up. Sonam sat in the back seat with the kids and they were having a great time, tickling and teasing one another. Rosa looked through an Ecuador tourist magazine, and we pointed out some of the sites that we had visited yesterday in Quito.
Soon the ride lulled Shina to sleep. Although Yupanqui felt nauseous as we wound through the steep mountain roads, he never actually got sick. Neither of the girls felt carsick, and Yupanqui was in better shape than he was last time, so we consider the Bonine to be a success!
We drove for approximately 2 hours through misty, foggy cloud forest to Intag. We stopped along the roadside to view the naturally occurring "Inca Face" in the mountainside.
We arrived at Nangulvi Hot Springs. I bought tickets for all of us, including Hector. Though he didn't have a swimsuit with him, we figured that he would prefer sitting by the pools to sitting in the parking lot.
We went into the changing rooms to put on our bathing suits, and then we all met out by the pools. There are several pools of different sizes and temperatures, fed by the natural hotsprings by pipes.
The weather was overcast, which was probably for the best. The pools are so exposed that full on noonday sun can be quite strong and dangerous. We enjoyed the hot water and the lush green beautiful mountains surrounding the Intag valley. It was surreal.
Sonam is getting to be quite a good swimmer, having only started teaching himself several weeks ago in Bangkok. We are so proud of him. The kids are also getting much more comfortable in the water, and we all enjoyed helping to teach them how to swim and float.
Shina and Sonam at the hot springs
I bought everyone a blackberry ice cream cone. The young man who served me was very nice, even giving me a replacement cone when Shina immediately accidentally dumped her scoop onto the ground. (It was a testament to the coolness of the weather that the scoop was still intact and had barely melted by the time we left the hot springs).
Sonam on the zip line rope swing
Sisa slides into the hot spring
After around 2 hours in the pools, we dried off, changed back into street clothes, and went to get some lunch. Before getting into the car, we went to take a look at the Rio Intag, which flows behind the pools. The river was quite high and fast, owing to all of the recent rain. The kids approached it and we got nervous; the river was quite dangerous. We called the kids back from the riverbanks and got into the van.
We stopped for lunch in the small town of Apuela. The restaurant where we had eaten last time had already closed for the day. Luckily, I was still able to buy some organic Intag coffee beans there. We had bought some last time and it was absolutely delicious. It is known as some of the best coffee produced in Ecuador, and we wanted to stock up!
We ate lunch across the street at a small family-owned restaurant which was more than happy to serve our large group. We had soup and a tipico plate of chicken, papas fritas, avocado, rice, and a salad made of beets and corn.
We bought everyone an ice cream novelty, and then we crossed the street to watch a volleyball game which was in progress. I walked around the square and took some photos of their simple yet picturesque yellow church.
The drive back to Morochos was treacherous due to rainy, foggy conditions. Hector did a great job, driving slowly and cautiously. Even when a herd of cows suddenly appeared out of the mist, he was in total control. The kids were exhausted and fell asleep on the ride.
It took a long time to get back to Morochos, and we arrived shortly before 6 p.m. Everyone was tired; it had been a long but satisfying day, on top of our busy day yesterday. And poor Antonio had arrived home at 3 a.m. this morning after playing at a wedding in Otavalo last night. So we all took a rest before dinner.
After our late lunch, nobody had much of an appetite. Sonam helped Rosa to cook a simple, one-course meal. Everyone agreed that we didn't need soup. We had fried eggplant, salad, rice, and melloco. Sonam had prepared a nice surprise for us: peppers and onions with a sweet message in aji!
Nangulvi Hot Springs
The females of the family at breakfast
Sonam, Sisa, and Rosa view the Inca Face in Intag
Sisa, Sonam, Shina, and Yupanqui at Nangulvi Hot Springs
Sonam and Sisa
Achi Mama teaches Shina to swim
Achi Taita swims with Sisa
Sisa slides into the water
Shina gains confidence in the water
Lunch in Apuela: Yupanqui, Antonio, Shina, Hector, and Rosa