The doors opened with a small pull of the handle, and like a breathe coming from the mountain, the chill trickled into the car. We had arrived at El 18.
Our small group of family and friends gathered outside the busy patio of a restaurant with a sign that read, "Pa'Las Que Sea!" We started toward a small inclined dirt road on the other side of the highway, El 18.
We weaved through cars and people, trying not to lose their footing on the loose dirt covering the rocky path. Once we arrived at the summit, a cool breeze and spectacular view reminded us what it means to view the world from atop a mountain.
After the chill surmounted our desire to keep viewing what looked like the edge of the world, we hobbled toward the restaurant where the short walk began and decided to explore the food of El 18.
Into the restaurant we went.
In the back we found an inviting patio with a gorgeous view of the Andes. The mountains lay around the valley like giants from prehistoric times, petrified after millennia of sleep, reverent and immovable.
We ordered a nice bowl of hot chocolate accompanied by an adult-sized slab of mozzarella. The cheese melted in the steamy chocolate drink, which warmed our insides, while the view soothed our minds.
The afternoon came with mountain mist that flowed over the rim of the Andes, and washed across the valley covering it in a sleepy blanket and
marking the end of the trip through El 18.