This morning it was chilly. Normally, I hate chilly. It means summer is over, no more festivals, pool time, last-minute beach trips and mid-week margaritas or excuses to skip a morning run for a quick tanning session at the pool.
But today was different.
While I do have a little sensitivity with saying goodbye to the sun for six months, I feel that I can embrace the cold weather with a little more optimism, thanks to my recent vacation to Quito.
The Quito trip was for a wedding, but naturally, I turned it into a vacation. Little did I know that the city, surrounded in all its historic and cultured glory, would have a weather so opposite of what my regular beach vacations consisted.
I’d like to think the view takes my breath away, but it’s really because Quito is one of the highest cities in the world – 9,350 feet above sea level to be exact. Still, there is something so magical about a city I previously thought so ordinary. Perhaps it’s the six volcanos that dance around the city. Pichincha, the closest active volcano, has the power to geothermally heat groundwater, producing what’s commonly called a hot spring or aguas termales.
After a two-hour long, winding road up and down a green mountain landscape with quickly dropping temperatures, we finally arrived at the termas de papallacta.
It is here, bathing in an open Ecuador sky, near a vast moutainous landscape, next to cows crazing on the hill, where my enchantment with Ecuador started and my dissatisfaction with the cold weather ended.
Because the temperature in Quito stays as low as 30°F, the thermal baths create a balance of hot-and-cold therapy which boosts blood flow and increases relaxation. Papallacta’s thermal waters contain sulfates, sodium, calcium, chloride and traces of magnesium which are odourless, colourless but have a slightly salty taste. The six pools vary between 86°F and 158°F in temperature – all naturally heated.
The minerals help regulate your PH balance and the sulphates, sodium and magnesium improve intestinal function. The chloride traces help activate the metabolism, especially when entering and existing hot and cold waters. Chloride also serves as an anti-inflammatory.
When you inhale the vapours, it actually moisturizes and loosens secretions in the respiratory tract. The relaxing effect soothes muscle tissue, alleviates respiratory problems and improves blood flow.
And after a phenomenal Ecuadorian wedding that lasted till 6 a.m. – this was as close to heaven as one could come.