Lago San Pablo was breathtaking. In all actuality, it was the lake, the surrounding mountains and wonderful retreat at Las Cabanas del Lago that made it a paradise.
The only problem being that there was no internet connectivity. Sorry to leave everyone clueless as to our whereabouts.
It was quite an exciting day, traveling from our hotel in Ibarra to Cotacachi where our only work was to find 6 peices of leather to take home to our poor damaged couch. We trapsed around the town looking for a "fabrica de cuero". In a town full of leather goods, it was surprisingly difficult. We were first sent down by a bridge, nothing was there, including no taxi to take us back to town. We continuted, based on advice by a kind, barefoot indian woman, crouching underneath a banner, through an open lot, to the next street and down again by a river. The whole time, there was a lot of whinnning some of which was due to tiredness, but most of it was from my little brave Stewart who had to use the toilet and was terribly uncomfortable. We finally found a closed gate from behind came loud music. Finally, the leatherworker answered our "timbre", and showed us something that wouldn't work, but he could bring some peices down from his mountain home when we pass through again with Mike. He kindly agreed to load us all into the tiny front seat of his barely functioning truck. All the kids were on top of me for the tense ride up the hill in the vehicle. The man gave me his number and said I should call.
We paid $.25 for use of a public toilet which we had to return to for a second time, and continued walking with poor Stewart crying. We got the first cab we could and arranged for the driver to take us directly to our new hotel, skipping our lunch plans at "El Meson de Flores". What should have taken 15 minutes turned into 35, due to the directionless "minga" (community work group) who were trying to build the road. I couldn't believe our small taxi made it over and through a huge pile of gravel and around other bizarre no-road conditions. Perhaps more amazing was that Nigel and Stewart slept.
I have found that the getting there is usually painful in some way, while the arrival is always wonderful. This day was no different, but it provides a good story, anyway. We found our new paradise, complete with mini-golf, bunnies, zip-lines, a play park and a good restaurant with amazing view.
Side story: Shortly after arriving we noticed a fire on Volcan Imbaburra(a dead volcano), directly behind our cabin. The security guy told us that it had most likely been set by some wayward teens. The kids and I talked about it a lot, how damaging it was to the air, wildlife and flora. I said how stupid the kids had been to set the fire, if indeed that was the case (the kids liked saying "stupid" over and over). Once the kids were asleep, I went out to look at it. The entire top of the mountain had a ring of fire buring bright. The last picture shows how it looked withabout 30% burnt. The next day, both peaks were black.