Alicia, Student Blogger: Week 6, Mindo

Day 43

I got myself up this morning and caught a taxi to Magic Bean for breakfast again.  They serve some of the best apple cinnamon pancakes that I’ve ever had, and a darn good smoothie, too.

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Afterwards, I took a taxi to the bus terminal and a bus to Mindo.  I was a bit nervous to travel alone, but I once again had no problems getting to Mindo.  I booked the same hostel as before, Casa de Cecilia, but booked an individual room this time for a whopping $11.  I had an okay lunch at Taco Mindo, and checked into the hostel.

I met a (check this out) first-year special education teacher from the US and we made plans to do a different chocolate tour later in the day.  It started to rain, so I grabbed my Spanish copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and read in a hammock.  I met a man from New Zealand, Steve, and we went off to watch the soccer game.

The three of us ended up going to the chocolate tour at **ChocoArte, which was absolutely fantastic.  The owner did the tour herself.  It was different from the first tour because we got to DO most parts of the process ourselves: drying the cocoa beans, separating the shells from the beans, grinding them, and then MAKING FONDUE!  Chocolate fondue, made from freshly ground cocoa beans with raw sugar is my new favorite snack.  She was very knowledgeable about every aspect of the chocolate-making process and the tour lasted two and a half hours, for only $7.

We then went to the Concierto de las Ranas, a night walk at a property designed to attract frogs.  This night walk was really nice; they give everyone a shot of wine at the start (for the adults), and we bought hot chocolate afterwards that was good, as well.  The tour was long enough, and within walking distance of the hostel, but I feel like it was designed for children more than adults.  I’d recommend Mindo Night Walks for a more exciting night walk.  We stopped at the restaurant close to the hostel for pizza, and they did not disappoint.

Day 44

This hostel has great breakfast, so Vannessa and I had breakfast at the hostel, and then took a taxi to our horseback riding tour.  The tour lasted an hour and the views were beautiful.  I did feel badly for my horse, however, as I was a bit too big to be riding that particular horse.

We went to eat lunch afterwards, and originally went to the big cafe on the main street.  Vannessa has a gluten allergy and ordered her burger without a bun, and the waiter brought it with a bun.  He then brought the same burger back without the bun, and then the same burger back with different lettuce on it, not understanding (or trying to understand) that she could not eat the burger after it had touched the bun.  We ended up paying and leaving, and ended up eating at Taco Mindo again, where they were accommodating enough to be safe for Vannessa.

After getting lunch figured out, we checked out the **Nathaly Butterfly garden, which was incredible.  For $4, we got access to their entire garden, and the enclosed butterfly garden, which was full of beautiful butterflies and flowers.  We also got access to their hummingbird garden, and you can stay as long as you’d like.

We then took a bus back to Quito together, and then returned to our respective houses.  I was concerned to travel alone, but had a great experience overall and am very glad that I went.

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