The morning came at just the right time. We were waking without an alarm or a wakeup call. I am not as sure about Marti but for me when I awake in this manner it changes my outlook for the whole day. Refreshed after my shower we headed to a breakfast of fruit, eggs, ham and bacon. Our breakfast was just as good as yesterday and the service was just a little better. After breakfast we were in a cab and on our way to the craft market. It was lots of fun watching Marti shop and bargain. Soon she was out of cash and I noticed that my cash started to quickly dwindle. Hand towels, dolls, jewelry, leather goods, wall art, and oh yes a very special item just for my granddaughter Abby were soon in a bag and being carried from shop to shop by Marti’s little personal Sherpa, me. I was dizzy from the speed of shopping as well as the altitude. I know that we went to at least two different towns but all I can remember was a mass of stalls, many shops, multiple cabs and the fact that the bundle of goods I carried became heaver as my billfold became lighter.
Tired and starting to become a little hungry I exited a cab in front of the La Mirage. We were greeted by Maria a lovely lady who took the heavy packages out of my hands. We then strolled into the beautiful garden and saw five male Peacocks strutting their stuff. The one and only female ignored the boys and looked for food. Sitting down in the beautiful garden we decided to rest and refresh with a cool drink. I had a local beer and Marti had an ice tea. Sitting in the garden was calming and very relaxing. After our rest and downing the cool drinks we walked around the grounds of the La Mirage. Maria met us at the little chapel and offered to show us some of the cottages as well as the spa and pool. The rooms are beautiful and scented with lavender. I am amazed by the ornate yet elegant beauty of these cottages. I can fully understand why Queen Sofia of Spain stayed at the La Mirage room number 1 during her visit to Ecuador.
After our tour of La Mirage we headed into its restaurant for lunch. We ordered an appetizer tart of onion and goat cheese, followed by entrées of braised lamb for Marti, and duck legs for me. Our lunch started with a delicate Ecuadorian pastry with cheese tucked inside and presented in a music box. We were both delighted with the presentation and the delicate pastry. Throughout our trip this pastry has been a part of our lunch and dinner meals. However, this one served at La Mirage was by far the best. It had a very light pastry dough crust with just the right amount of cheese tucked inside and then fried in fresh oil. This morsel was served at room temperature and spooned on top with a delicate sauce.
The next course was our onion and goat cheese with green olives. The balance of flavors as well as the presentation of the plate was outstanding. We savored this treat and enjoyed each bite. After relishing the pleasure of our appetizer we were treated with some sorbet to cleanse our pallets. Our main courses arrived and we were ready to enjoy our lunch of lamb and duck. The presentation of the main course was fine but after the pastry, and goat cheese presentation it just seemed like lunch. The lamb was in its own container covered with rosemary gravy. On the plate was a serving of rice with lavender and dots of zucchini. The duck legs were placed on a bed of red cabbage with two potato croquet, dots of zucchini and duck gravy. The lamb and the duck were delicious as were the items that accompanied them. We enjoyed our lunch paid the bill and went back to our lovely Hacienda to relax.
Marti took a short nap and I worked on my report.

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