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Published: December 13th 2015
Having splashed the cash (after looking at a number of different options) to fly to Quito from Cusco we thought it would be a nice and simple. We were a little wrong. After getting up early, for a change, we got a taxi straight down to the airport for 5:30am. We were due to be in Quito for lunch time after a couple of hours waiting for our connection in Lima. When we checked our bags the woman casually said to us "oh, you are going to Quito, you will not make your connection as the flight is delayed. I can still get you to Quito but you will arrive at around midnight". After our stunned looks she changed her tune a little and said that we may be ok but to check with their staff prior to take off for the first flight. We did this (once someone turned up at the gate we were boarding from) and he said we would easily make the connecting flight. After landing and finally getting off the plane (we had to catch a bus to the terminal for some reason) we legged it across the airport, through security again and through immigration in
about 3mins to arrive at the gate for our connection. There was no one there other than a couple of stewards who told us that they were waiting for us and a few others on our flight from Cusco. So we made it and when we landed found that our other fear of our bags not making the flight had not come true either. So we happily jumped in a taxi and headed to our hostel in Old Town Quito.
The taxi ride was long (made longer by him stopping for fuel) and then we arrived at our hostel. Our moods from being on edge all morning with the flight situation were just about to get worse as the taxi driver claimed he had no change for us and on top of that robbed all the food that we put in the boot with our big back packs. Seems like he well versed in these kind of antics with gullible tourists!
Anyway, after calming down we trotted around Old Town Quito fairly aimlessly heading roughly towards a large cathedral at the heart of it. We happened to be in Quito the same weekend as a festival for the
founding of the city. As we arrived at the cathedral we were greeted by any number of vans blaring out music that had been converted to allow people to dance where the flat bed should be! Some even had full blown bands on them. They were stopping to let the people off and boogie by the side of the road! Although it was a Friday it was only mid afternoon!
After walking around some really packed streets of the Old Town we headed back after tasting the delights of a local chicken and chips place and listened to the parties that seemed to go on into the night.
Next morning we headed up to the park that had excellent views of the whole of sprawling Quito. It also had some cool statues of hummingbirds too. From there we walked for 30mins through two other parks to arrive at Plaza Foch. This was a touristy square with western style eateries all around the edge and lots of places offering happy hour drinks. We mooched around the area for a few hours taking in a market near the square and also a craft market that only appeared on Saturdays in
one of the near by parks. After much deliberation (three visits back to the same shop) Vicks finally decided that she needed to replace her 15 year old waterproof due to its failings on the Inca Trial.
In the evening we headed out to a street called La Ronda which we were told had been restored and was packed with places to eat and drink. After getting pretty lost finding it we arrived and it was packed! It was a million times worse than walking down Oxford Street when Christmas shopping! We managed to dive into an Indian style restaurant and had an awesome feast before lots of other people came in.
We decided to be lame and head back to the hostel only to stumble across a square that had a band playing on a massive stage with lots of people dancing. The band were pretty awesome and included a kid that couldn't have been much older than 13 playing pretty much every instrument under the sun! We stayed for an hour until an official sounding chap came on stage to talk about the festival that was going on, continually reiterating for people to be sensible in
Our final full day in Quito was not really spent in Quito at all. We decided to take the plunge and go on public transport for the first time in South America and head to Mitad del Mundo. Mitad del Mundo is essentially a theme park that is supposed to be on the equator. After taking a metrobus near the hostel and changing to a local style bus we arrived. The theme park is centred around a monument that signifies the supposed exact position of the equator. This monument was erected a number of years before scientific equipment had improved which now indicates that the equator line was actually 300 metres away! Anyway the theme park seems to have gotten around this by claiming the equator is a 5km wide band that goes around the world...! We spent a good couple of hours wondering around the place jumping from the Southern Hemisphere to Northern Hemisphere and back again whilst watching some locals putting on dance shows in the squares.
We headed back to the city feeling a little underwhelmed and went for dinner at a restaurant near the park that overlooked the city. The view at
night was pretty spectacular but unfortunately the food was over priced and a little plain!
Overall there appeared to be a lot going on in Quito all the time. Our moods got better after the initial annoyance at the flight and taxi driver! We were told it was a bit of a party city and we happened to be there on the biggest weekend of their year!
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