First, I must give you a picture from the mountains. For 360 days of the year, the high Andes - 3,900m - are covered in cloud. So how lucky was I to be there when it was like this:
The air is thin and clear, and the lakes mirror the sky or the mountains or - occasionally - one of the brave trees that manage to cling on this high up. Walking is a challenge, especially if, like me, you live somewhere low-lying, but I puffed my way along a lovely path (stopping to admire the view at every opportunity) and it was wonderful.
I was on my way from Cuenca to Guayaquil. I spent five days trying to work out why I love Cuenca. Is it the architecture in the city centre? The churches and museums, celebrating everything from the towns indigenous beginnings through the ravages of Spanish occupation to the delights and challenges of independence? Is it the plazas and restaurants? It's certainly not the black smoke belching from the back of buses.
And then I decided it didn't matter why I love Cuenca. I just do. I love the lazy streets - it's too hot for anyone to hurry, but there's a breeze from the mountains (and it's high) so nobody fries. It's easy to walk from one side of the old city to the other along busy streets and quiet streets and forgotten streets. And it's full of very kind people.
And Guayaquil? It's the biggest city in Ecuador, and - until I went to the museum and discovered its history - it seemed to be just a big, working city. But when I learned of its past, all those rebellions, the yellow fever epidemics, a huge fire that devastated almost everything, and the way it succumbed to corruption and general mayhem until just twenty years ago, it's astonishing to see it now. Serious money has been spent - on roads, a theatre, cinema and museum complex, an international airport, a state-of-the-art football stadium. The Malecon, a walkway beside the river, is now full of children's playgrounds, a garden, shops - and plenty of security people. It don't think I can love Guayaquil like I love Cuenca, but I admire what they have achieved in such a short time.
Now - I'm in Puerto Lopez. Small children play on the beach. The ocean rolls in, and rolls in, and rolls in. And I have a hut and a hammock.