|A fabulous place to visit for a fabulous meal, to meet fabulous people, and to be guided on a fabulous hike!|
Since that hike, Fabian and his new bride, Maggie, and two of his brothers, George and Wilson join us every Tuesday at our apartment to practice their "English." Their gift to us has been more than helping us in return with our Spanish. They are truly our family! They show up at 7 pm sharp and sometimes stay until after 11 pm. Our time is filled with learning, laughter, delicious coffee and food that Chef Bo serves while we practice grammar and pronunciation, and sometimes we have to kick them out - en serio! We love being together, and we always look forward to our Tuesday "adorables" coming and brightening our week. Along with the Prado Ochoa brothers and Fabian's wife, Maggie, we are joined by their good friend, Alfonso, and dear friends of ours, Jhady, and her 11 year old daughter, Lizbeth. Our table is graced with the presence of seven faithful Ecuadorian friends who are hungry to improve their English and who also are our gentle Spanish teachers. It is a time of conversation, reading, learning more vocabulary, and focusing on correct pronunciation.
Since we began to meet in February, Fabian and George have been continually inviting us to come to their family restaurant again for a day of hiking, dining, and just being together. We finally set a date to just "do it." So, on Friday Jhady picked us up at 8:00 a.m. and drove us to the "Rancho Hermanos Prado in the Heart of the Cajas." What a glorious fun-filled day of spending time with joyful people and getting away from the daily routine of city life. Rocky, the Prado Ochoa brothers' dad and owner of the restaurant and over 200 acres of private Cajas land, welcomed us and we immediately felt at home. We sat down and were served hot coffee and bread. That was just the beginning of a day filled with more delicious food, drink, hiking, music, and more of their family stopping by.
Well, why don't I let my photography tell you the story - yes?
A DAY IN THE CAJAS THROUGH MY LENS
Rancho Prado is a place not to miss!
|.....sipping hot coffee by the fire.|
|We decided to have a trout breakfast. What fun to catch our trout and cook it fresh together! George shows us how to do it!|
|I entrusted my camera to George when everyone insisted I give it a try!|
|I'm so glad I did!! Now, Rocky and Jhady give it a whirl.|
|Time to go behind the curtain and watch the brothers cook! |
Wilson makes the salad. I must say, it was one of the most deliciously seasoned salads I've eaten since moving to Ecuador. He promised he'd show me how to make it.
|Fabian takes over the "Trout" frying while Jhady and Wilson observe.|
|Trout is sizzling away......|
|.....and the salad is ready!|
|Oh, what a delicious success! Cooked to perfection, and ready for the hungry hikers.|
|We enjoy the delicious food and joyful company together!|
|Come On, Bo and Linda. Let's go hiking!!|
|Which way should we go? Bo points and off we go!|
(L to R - Bo, Fabian, Jhady, Wilson, George)
|The trail was flat and close by, the scenery spectacular. Because of the weather, we decided to stick close to home. George promised me a Llama photography moment.|
|Wilson spots the Llamas!|
|What a beautiful creature!!|
|We saw MANY and I was in photography heaven.|
|They climbed the mountains in a pack, occasionally stopping to look at us.|
|In one area we saw Llamas and horses grazing together.|
|Though overcast, the weather cooperated and it did not rain during our hike. Only a tolerable mist at times. The scenery was breathtaking!|
|While I clicked away, lost in the photography moment, Fabian and Bo hiked along together enjoying their visit......|
|.......and Jhady and George pose for the camera!|
|At every turn the scenery became more breathtaking.....|
|........A photographer's paradise!|
|Though it was overcast, it was perfect lighting for my lens. These beautiful paper trees caught my eye.|
|Beautiful Andes Flowers graced the path.|
|So many varieties and colors. I'm yet to learn to identify them, but Fabian and George know every plant and their medicinal purposes.|
|Time to head back to the ranch!|
|A magical waterfall greets us at the entrance.|
|And inside uncles, cousins, nieces, and more family have dropped by to join our party.|
|We stay warm by the fire as George and Wilson entertain everyone with their musical talent.|
|Brandon is on his throne dozing to the laughter, music, and chatter.|
He, alone, is worth a trip to the restaurant. He'll join you on a hike and has been running these Andes for 9 years. What a beautiful, mellow and sweet dog!
|It's beginning to get dark as the sun sets behind the mountains.....|
|......and adds even more beauty to this marvelous area.|
|Prado Father and Sons - What a gift it is to know them!|
1 - Dress for the weather. Layer your clothes and make sure you wear comfortable water-resistant hiking boots. Sometimes it is soft and muddy in areas. You may also encounter areas of water and rocks you have to cross over. Also, take rain gear, hat, gloves, scarf, warm socks. Expect windy, cloudy, overcast, misty, rainy, and YES even SUNNY weather. One never knows what it will be like - so dress for it all.
2 - Go for the day. You never know what or whom you'll meet along the way. If you visit the Restaurant, you're sure to have a memorable time and a delicious meal.
3 - This area is not for the fainthearted. You will be at a higher altitude and in colder weather. If you are not into hiking, then you might want to just visit the restaurant for a meal, and go on one of their flat lower walking areas.
4 - If you are into seeing and/or photographing wildlife and birds, this area delivers!
5 - You can rent poles and bait here and go to the larger lake to trout fish. We fished in the little pond just for the experience.
6 - Don't forget your camera and binoculars.
7 - Take toilet paper (always, everywhere), water, and snacks.
Have fun and make it grand.
Thank you Prado Ochoa Family for another memorable Cajas visit.
You made it GRAND for us!!
You made it GRAND for us!!
Visit their FACEBOOK page at https://www.facebook.com/ranchohnosprado