Hacienda Molino San Juan
On my journey from Quito to Otavalo I made a stop at the Hacienda Molino San Juan. I wanted to convince myself personally now, Since I’ve heard a lot about this historic place. Just a short pass after the town of Cayambe on the Panamericana, there is a small road on the right leading to the property. If you pass by on the freeway, you can hardly imagine that a little paradise is hidden here. I am warmly welcomed and invited on a tour to get to know the all the parts of the Hacienda.
The Hacienda Molino San Juan is owned by the same family for many generations. The large, once coherent estate was divided in half with the construction of the Panamericana. This explains why we have to cross the freeway to visit the other part.
After a littl drive we arrive at a small farm, I am curious what is behind the heavy wooden doors.
The friendly Mrs. Jarrin, who shows me this part of the hacienda, is a direct follower of the family, which is located 6 generations in possession of the hacienda Molino San Juan. When the door is opened, enter a large room which is full of various rose arrangements. The splendor of these beautiful flowers, which are cultivated here in the region for export inspires immediately.
I am told that we are in the haystack of that time, and from the photos that are spread throughout the room, Ms. Jarrin begins to tell me about her family.
I recognize her great enthusiasm to keep the history of her family and the hacienda. The large beautifully built in the colonial style house on the other side was once built by her grandfather, in the church, which is above, it is tradition that family members get marryed here. We drive back to the part of the hacienda where the stables and the mill was.
I say goodbye and thank to Mrs. Jarrin and get introduced to Jaime Pallares. The current manager of the hotel and restaurants. In the room that was once the mill, I take a seat by the fireplace and get home-made bizcochos (a typical local pastry) and canelazo.
The hot Canelazo is just as typical and is drunk throughout the Andean region. The drink from Naranjilla juice, spices and liquor warms, and so I listen excitedly to what Jaime has to tell.
I am shown the different parts of the mill and explained how here once very different cereals were ground. The numerous objects in this room, reminiscent of a museum, all have a history, such as the piano played on to distract from the sometimes monotonous work.
One floor below is the heart of the mill, the millstones and the former drive, because here used to flow directly through the river.
I will be attentive to the different beer bottles and experience that for some years even own beer is brewed, based on an old recipe what the German Jesuits left behind.
Of course, I taste the beer and am thrilled with the full-bodied and mature taste.
On the first floor, where the office and living quarters used to be, I can also see relics from the Inca period, which were found here during renovation work.
Now Jaime leads me over the beautiful courtyard to the small chapel that once built Jesuit monks.
We leave the part of the mill and walk over to today’s hotel.
Upon entering the beautifully renovated building I immediately notice the strange semicircular pools, which are located on the wall corners. Jaime explains that this building was the former stables and was extensively rebuilt in an ecological way. The extremely comfortable rooms, distributed on two levels and the spacious lounges with billiards, games and reading corners invite you to linger and enjoy.
The numerous activities that offered here, such as horseback riding, cooking classes or the production of cheeses, make this an ideal place to spend time with your family or friends.
For dinner, I get served a traditional soup made of different cereals, another proof that the culture is preserved in these walls. The subsequent exquisite lamb roast activates the fact that one finds a first-class cuisine here. The next morning I break up contentedly and look forward to more treasures that this fascinating Ecuador still hides from me.
Josef Gutmann 22nd July 2019