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Published: April 1st 2018
The higher, the better!
Swinging from Casa del Arbol, Baños
Upon arrival in Ecuador, the 23rd and final country on our round the world trip, the beach started calling and we found ourselves in the beautiful coastal town of Montañita. Down to our last couple of weeks and acutely aware of the weather at home, we were keen to savor the sun and enjoy the beach life for a few days. Hammocks, beach strolls, amazing sunsets and tasty food - it was pure bliss. But all too soon it was time to say good bye to the beach bum life and we made our way to the city of Cuenca, a natural stop from the coast to Baños.
Cuenca was originally established as the second capital of the Inca Empire after Cusco but today it is a famous expat destination. An exact number of expats hasn't been determined but it is estimated it could be up to 10,000...we might be back! The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of character, cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. It is famous for its churches of which there are 52...one for every Sunday of the year!
Located in the heart of Ecuador, the city of Baños is known as its adrenaline
capital. It is also a gateway to the Amazon rainforest but as we didn't have enough time this time round, we have had to put it on the list for our second travelling year (we wish!). Instead we got our thrills from zip-lining, swings and mountain biking.
After satisfying our inner adrenaline junkies, we made our way to Quito, the highest capital city in the world at 2850m. Having read this, curiosity led us to google the altitude of Newmarket (20m) and Sixmilebridge (8m) which served to amuse the locals.
Quito was the first city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staying in the historic centre, it was easy to see why UNESCO started with Quito. Incredible churches and colonial buildings can be found at every turn.
Our stay fell over Holy Week, a very important week of celebration in Quito with its large catholic population. The most spectacular event is the Good Friday procession and we were lucky enough to get to witness this special event where thousands of participants gather at the Iglesia del San Francisco before starting on a parade route of more than two and a half miles. It doesn't sound
Catedral de la Inmaculada
Quick photo before it started to rain!
that far but many participants walk the parade route barefoot whilst others carry large wooden logs across their shoulders or drag huge chains from their ankles. All climb the steep streets that lead up to the Basilica del Voto Nacional before turning and coming back to the plaza where they began.
The country of Ecuador straddles the equator line and with the Middle of the World located very close to Quito, we visited and took the unique opportunity of standing in two hemispheres at once! Another one checked off our ever-growing bucket list. One would have assumed it would be getting shorter after this year but quite the opposite!
And so 4 continents, 23 countries, thousands of miles and countless memories later, we find ourselves in Heathrow airport...Only one more leg to go and our round the world trip will be complete! The Liddy household are eagerly awaiting our arrival and the Ryan household are as of yet completely unaware (surprise!!). In some ways, it feels like our year has gone too fast but when we look back over our photos and travel blog, we have had so many amazing experiences this year that we can't but be
Thanks to everyone who has been following our journey on the blog and to those who have been reminding us when we are behind! It has taken more time and effort that we had anticipated but we're delighted we did it now as it's great to be able to look back on all of our adventures...
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