In Ecuador originally we planned to spend only one week. We planned to visit just two cities: Quito and Cuenca. However, almost from the first moment when we came into the country we liked it so much that we extended the stay for one month during which we were able to explore the whole Ecuadorian Ands area, visit quite a few cities and towns, and climb some of the local volcanoes.

Of course, while being in Ecuador we tried to learn something about the local Polish community. From the information we gathered it seems that Ecuador is currently home to about 400 people with Polish passports and they are mainly Polish Jews who came here during the Second World War, the interesting fact is that four of them are currently listed in the top ten richest people in the country. In Quito we had the pleasure of meeting with the Poles who have been living there for nearly 40 years. They miss Poland and try to visit it quite regularly. In their homes they cook Polish food and in their gardens they grow Polish fruit and vegetables (for example beetroots, fennel and wild strawberries). From them we have also heard an interesting theory about the Ecuadorian approach to time. As in Ecuador there are no seasons therefore there is no need to hurry, for example to harvest cereals and therefore the rush which is so common in Europe here is completely unknown.

During meetings with Ecuadorians we were trying to learn what they know about Poland and Poles. As it has already taken place in Colombia, mostly this knowledge is limited to the knowledge of John Paul II and sometimes Lech Walesa. This time we were positively surprised by the Couch Surfers. It turned out that most of them had already some guests from Poland and had some information about our country, cuisine and language. One of hosts maintains regular contact with his Polish friends, and even showed us the translated into English book “Loneliness in the network” written by Janusz Wisniewski with a special dedication in Polish. But perhaps the most interesting encounter happened to us in the tiny village of Guano, near Riobamba. It turned out that the gentleman working at the local tourist information has a Polish girlfriend and now he is trying to get visa to our country.

In most of the cities we visited, we tried to find out if there are a lot of visitors coming from Poland. To our surprise the answer was always yes. However, when we looked through a record of visitors very rarely we managed to come across a Polish name, so information on the alleged number of arrivals Poles (especially in the less touristy places) does not seem to be completely convincing.

In Ecuador we loved the wonderful climate, beautiful mountain scenery, low prices and exceptionally friendly, interesting people. If we were to give some advice to people who plan to go to this country we would advise to avoid some of the most popular tourist villages and go  to a much more authentic villages and towns, where the presence of tourists is still rare and raises considerable attraction.


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