The excitement was shared between the students and the counselors during our early breakfast this morning. Everybody ate with passion the scrambled eggs and gazed into the wall wondering how the Galapagos Islands would be. We had finally reached the day that all of us had been waiting, the day that we were flying to the famous islands that inspired Darwin to write his biological masterpiece, The Evolution of Species. As Darwin shocked the world with his progressive thoughts, we were ready to shock our own world and imagination by visiting the magical islands in the middle of the Pacific. Our bus arrived, we boarded, we reached the airport, and we walked towards the check-in. The weather was pleasant, and the attitudes of both crew and students were positive; we all expected a pleasant flight. When our turn came to check in our luggage, James seemed worried as he realized that the flight information that we were given from the travel agent was wrong. We anxiously counted each following minute that passed by as we were wishing to catch our flight. Time slowly ran out, and we were still without tickets. After the counselors sadly announced that we were not going to be flying today, our hearts were broken, and we had to postpone our excitement for tomorrow. James, as a great leader of the wolfpack, was prepared excellently; he promised us that a fun day was laying ahead of us. We boarded the bus once again, this time from the airport, heading to a traditional city named Otavalo. The bus ride was fun as we enjoyed music and cheesy jokes from James and Raya (not….). We had a couple of interesting stops during the bus ride. The first stop was at a small side road that was lying directly under the Equator. We took some pretty awesome pictures and hit the road again. The second stop was at a volcano overlook where we enjoyed the view and some traditional oven-baked cookies.
Lunch was waiting for us in a restaurant in Otavalo. In the restaurant, we ate and discussed various topics such as what was J Lo wearing at the Golden Globes awards or why DiCaprio has not won an Oscar yet. After we recharged our batteries, we headed out in the city to explore the local market and show off our bargaining skills. The market was a place where noises and colors came together, creating an atmospheric blanket that captured each and every one of us in it. We roamed the vibrant aisles of the market looking to buy presents for our loved ones and ourselves. We were taking our time in the small stands with local goods, making sure that the products we chose were the finest. We faced savage bargaining techniques that we successfully overcame and dropped the prices of our desired goods. The time came when we had to wrap it up and say goodbye to this magical little market. It was definitely one of the best experiences for all of us since we interacted with the locals and got a taste of their culture, which was depicted in their products.
Before our return to the hostel, we went to see the Cascada de Peguche waterfall. The location of the waterfall was absolutely perfect as it was surrounded by the tallest eucalyptus trees that I have ever seen. Pictures and smiles were common during our short visit to the waterfall, and it is fair to say that everybody enjoyed the sunlight and the clean air.
Returning to the hostel, I believe we all agreed that the day turned out to be pretty fun and that the counselors had done an excellent job in organizing so much fun stuff on such short notice. Although I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed exploring the mainland of Ecuador, I really can not wait until tomorrow when we are going to the Galapagos Islands.
P.S. Se agapo poli mama kai mou leipete poly.