Say 'Cheese'! (and plants and hiking)

 

Since Hacienda Zuleta is a diary farm, it makes sense that they'd make cheese too, si? We've been having a selection of amazing cheese with every single meal here (including breakfast). And yes, I've given in and eaten some. It's whey good. (Get it?!). Right after breakfast Sebastian hosted a tour of the cheese factory, where they make a variety of different cheeses for the hacienda and retail. It turns out cheese is really interesting and Sebastian's excitement was infectious! I must say I never realized that cheese didn't smell so great until I found myself in a room practically made of cheese. Also, Sebastian kept making accidental cheese puns and I had trouble not giggling...

I also took a quick tour of the organic gardens that provide all the absurdly great food here. I ate so many mystery fruits right off the mystery plants!

Yesterday was also the day that it really sunk in that the sun is a bit strong when you're on the equator at 9,000ft. With the clouds finally cleared, I grabbed a couple of dogs (Fito and Cheetah(?) - 'Cheetah' is new to the hacienda and no one can agree on a name... I've been told at least 3 different ones) and set out on a 6-mile hike in the hills surrounding the pastures. I luckily ran into Yann on my way out who provided me with 100spf sunscreen. He's a true caucasian hero. Too bad I forgot to sunscreen the part in my hair (ouch!).

MAGIC

MAGIC

The hike was gorgeous, even if my lung capacity was hindered a little bit once I added another 2,000ft of elevation. It's good to know that I wasn't the only one, since Fito kept stopping to 'take in the view'. Yeah, right.

I spent the whole time hoping I could see the top of the volcano, but alas the little bit of cloud cover continued the obscure the peak. Folks tell me it exists, but I can't verify that. What I could see was the afternoon rain forming on the horizon and sometimes I act like an 8-year-old, so I ran most of the way down the hill back to the hacienda in time for a late lunch. The other guests confirmed that I smelled really nice.

With the afternoon rain, I decided to grab an umbrella and some rain boots and just go for an easy stroll around the pastures. It was really peaceful meandering around the locals heading to and from the fields. And I saw the MOST MAGICAL RAINBOW SITUATION. Like a double rainbow where I could see both ends of both rainbows! I just can't handle the amount of pretty in this place!

Cheese maturing on oak

Cheese maturing on oak

Sebastian on the cheese tour

Sebastian on the cheese tour

We cut the cheese

We cut the cheese

Pony tail

Pony tail

Ass

Ass

My trusty hiking amigos, Cheetah and Fito

My trusty hiking amigos, Cheetah and Fito

Birds-eye view of the Hacienda. I think I took this picture because I needed to breathe. 

Birds-eye view of the Hacienda. I think I took this picture because I needed to breathe. 

You're fooling no one, Fito

You're fooling no one, Fito

He didn't move from this spot all afternoon. I think I broke him.

He didn't move from this spot all afternoon. I think I broke him.

Here comes the rain....

Here comes the rain....

MAGIC

MAGIC

If you're out until the cows come home, then you've made it to 4pm. You party animal, you.

If you're out until the cows come home, then you've made it to 4pm. You party animal, you.