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Published: December 31st 2015
After 35 hours in the air and 11 hours of airports in general as the sun rose we caught our first glimpse of Quito. Snow capped, forest draped mountains like islands in a swirling sea of gold tinted clouds the sun rose as we touched down jet lag momentarily forgotten in the wonder of Green.
A short walk through the terminal where Passport control and customs officers made great conversation partners upon whom we could practice our apparently dreadful Spanish skills. (I believe that they were very happy to see us leave!) Baggage claim was simply and Tommy was thrilled to see our taxi driver standing with a card with her name on it waiting for our arrival.
We sat silently in wonder as we were taken to our hotel. Mountains, trees and winding roads. “es lindo! Es Bonita!” were the only words i could murmur in my broken spanish.
The driver a lovely man escorted usa ll the way to the desk oro uf first night hotel Yumbo in the historic quarter of Quito.
As we checked in it became even more obvious to me that my attempts at learning spanish so far were woefully inadequate.
This view has since proven to be true time and time again.
We made our way to our room showered and agreed that a one hour nap would be a great idea…. Several hours later we woke. Ready to explore the wonders of Quito. We wandered the streets in search of café con leche marveling at the colonial architecture and beauty of everything.
Suddenly a local eatery caught my eye or should i say.. my sweet tooth. I stopped and stared trying desperately to work out if the almuerzo (set lunch menú) was something i wanted to eat. Luckily Tommy insisted we go inside otherwise we would most likely still be standing in that Street today!
Our first meal in Quito was delicious. Exactly what we needed.
We experienced the kindness that we now know is characteristic of Ecuadorians multiple times in Quito from two lovely young women in a shop who helped us find a phone and camera adaptor with the power of broken language and mime to the outstanding reccomendation made about dinner, Reina Ronda we reccomend this restaurant as well. Their food is outstanding and honestly the best coffee I have ever had.
Their prices are great and the service excellent. Ecuador is full of kind people.
After revisiting Plaza Grande we considered plans for the next day and fell exhausted into bed.
The next day we visited a coffee shop reccomended by lonely planet. Whilst the coffee was good it was overpriced. We made the decision to focus on local eateries and coffee shops instead after this experience. We then visited the Basilica De Voto Nacional Church it was incredible. Stained glass windows, arched rooftops, spires and a sense of peace. We climbed up and up through the rooftops, to the spires and into the bell tower the views from the top were astonishing. We spent quite a lot of time in the Basilica before broadening our exploration out into the newer areas of the city "the Mariscal" it was modern and busy and a hub for tourism in some areas. The fast paced ecxitement was nice for an afternoon but I left happy with our choice of staying in the old town.
We meandered through the park on the way back to our hotel, collected our bags and made our way to the bus terminal as we were
staying with a friend of Tommy's, Ivan. This is where we encountered our first difficulty. Finding the correct bus station! after trying a couple and believing we had finally found it we jumped onto a bus only to realise as it departed that this was completely not the right bus at all! As I berated myself for being a "silly gringa who should have learned to speak Spanish fluently before daring to visit this incredible country" a local man made eye contact and laughed as i explained our dilemma and the problem of being a silly gringa. He profusely denied this, laughed some more made a joke and offered to assist us in finding the right bus station. Together we hopped off the bus and as we walked along together a local woman joined us in the search for the correct bus. She offered further support and advice to us about the bus and exactly how to ensure our safety. Hugs were exhanged and we boarded the bus. We met Ivan in front of a church and stayed up talking with him far into the night. It was wonderful to be invited into Ivan's home and to hear about life
in Ecuador from an Ecuadorian. The morning was similar we thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent with Ivan. The rest of the day was spent on onward travel to Otavalo.
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