Yesterday’s long day of travel was complemented by… yet another long day of travel. Despite being an exhausting day, everyone put all of their energy and heart into making the most out of their first full day in Ecuador.

We started out early from Quito with to-go breakfasts of peanut butter and pineapple jelly sandwiches and granadillas – a typical Ecuadorian fruit. The pineapple jelly was a hit with the Glimpsers. Our five-hour bus ride took us high up into the mountains and down into the scenic valleys of Ecuador’s highlands. Even through fog and rain, the highlands were breathtaking. And quite literally breathtaking once we started going higher in altitude!

Our bus climbed higher and higher, passing through the desert-like landscape surrounding the great Volcano Chimborazo. Although its snow-capped peak was covered by clouds and rain as well, we could still feel the mountain’s power and majesty. We passed safely by Chimborazo and descended to Guaranda, nestled in the valley on the other side of the volcano. Keep up with the blogs everyone because this will not be the last time you hear about Chimborazo!

A little after noon, we arrived to the city center of Guaranda, unloaded our bags, and went to hotel – Hotel Palacio Real. The Glimpsers greeted the owner – Paul – and his lovely family and began to make themselves at home. Afterward, we went to eat lunch at our food provider – Feroz [aka “Fierce”] – and ate a typical Ecuadorian lunch – juice, soup, and main entrée.

The activity didn’t stop there! We went to the museum – La Guitarra – after lunch with our stellar transportation provider, Andrea. At La Guitarra, the Glimpsers learned that Guaranda is known for Carnaval. Carnaval takes place 40 days before Easter and it’s a time for Guarandeños and Ecuadorians alike to enjoy the sinfully good pleasures of life; Carnaval is also the festival of falling in love. And BIG LOVE to Luna and Jan for volunteering their acting talents in a dramatization of Carnaval courtship! The Glimpsers learned about the traditions of Carnaval: the music, food, instruments, talcum powder, perfumed water, and water balloons. The best part was putting their learning into practice. Together with Taita Carnaval Indigena and his merry band of Carnavaleros, the Glimpsers played Carnaval on the roof of the museum. Dancing to music with talcum and foam flying in the air and a beautiful backdrop of Guaranda below. It was a marvelous sight. From the Carnaval celebration, we learned how love, community, and celebration are at the heart of Guarandeño culture. Not very different from what is at the heart of Glimpser culture.

The evening activities wrapped up with our first nightly meeting. The torch was passed to our Global Glimpse Leaders who will be the leaders for tomorrow. All in all, everyone ended the day exhausted but excited for the adventures still to come.