Frogs and Frigate Birds - from the Ecuadorian rainforest to the Galapagos Islands, and a volcano or two along the way.
I had such fun writing this book.
I knew very little about Ecuador before I left. I could find it on a map, knew that Quito (the capital) is nine thousand feet in the Andes mountains. I had plans to visit the rainforest, to spend a night in an old hacienda, to bathe in thermal pools and swim in the Pacific. All this leading to a week on a small boat exploring the delights of the Galapagos Islands.
None of which gives you a clue as to what an extraordinary country this is.
For the old city in Quito is full of Spanish magnificence: treasured now but once evidence of a much-hated colonial occupation. Poisonous frogs and spiders lurked in the Amazonian foliage. A volcano erupted - quietly while I was there, but with much sound and fury soon after I left. The thermal pools where soothing and the sea wild. All put in its place by the supercilious grins of the tortoises in the Galapagos.
But this was so much more than 'woman has nice time in Ecuador'. For I met the most extraordinary, kind, helpful - and intriguing - people. Susi, with her quiet smile and wit. Marco, who drove me up mountains and walked me down waterfalls, all the time hiding the secret that he wasn't, really, a guide.