Day 748 (16.04.09)
A taxi, bus, ferry, another bus, two planes, another bus and a taxi later we arrived back at the Secret Garden Hostel in Quito in the early afternoon to find much celebration and frivolities just down the road. As we were checking in we found out it was a free bull fight going on (something to do with the upcoming election) so dumped our bags and went down to see if we could catch the last of the action. The rainy weather in Quito had limited the number of attendees but couldn't dampen the spirits of those who had stuck it out. We stayed for two "acts" the first of which was three clowns who along with their bull fighting (well dodging) occasionally mistimed it and got an absolute pasting! The second a more traditional, non padded, display saw fighters of various ages taking up the challenge and risking their limbs agains a pretty angry bull. It was interesting and pretty fun to watch this form of entertainment so popular in the continent.
Meeting up with Ryan, Mark and Nick again in the evening we whiled away the night hours with some beers and cards on
the terrace and joined in (fairly reasonably!)with the Secret Garden's quiz night.
Day 749 (17.04.09)
From just the two of us planning a trip up Quito's cable car, the TeleferiQo, it soon turned out that we had a party of fifteen who were also persuaded that it was a good idea. With a couple of taxis we all made it over to the bottom to find that the tourist price was significantly higher than we had been told at twice the local price but we decided to go up anyway. By the time we got to the top at 4100m elevation it was significantly colder than in the valley. We took in the spectacular views along the track hugging the ridge before descending again to the valley. Some of the group opted to carry on up the walking track (about 2 hrs ish) to the actual top of the path but we had a lot to fit into our day today.
Back in town and we had a great walk around the grand and oppulent buildings of the old town meeting up with Nick and Mark for a spot of lunch near the Plaza San Francisco, how
The highlight of the day for us however was our visit to Quito's Basillica. Walking along from the old town we arrived to have a peek inside before buying our 2USD ticket to go up the towers. Climbing the stairs we found our way to the first floor where you find yourself on a gallery overlooking the main hall below with a huge and beautiful stained glass window to your back.
From here there are a few more steps up to the next level where we took an extremely dodgy looking bridge over the ceiling to the other end of the building. Releived to make it across the first hurdle we then had several precarious looking ladders to climb to reach the outside section at the top of the tower. Unfortunately as we'd climbed across the drizzle had turned into a bit of a downpour and we had to wait a while before making our way outside to climb the ladders to the single turret.
As the rain eased, we ventured out. With the rain gone the views were getting better and better, however it had left some pretty slippy ladder rungs for us to negotiate
and the ladders were far from sheltered. Reaching the top we got some great views of the building and surrounding city. Well worth the nerve-wracking climb!
As we were on a tower we saw some other people who had climbed the twin clock towers at the other side of the building. Making our way back across the roof we climbed a tower on the other side. It kept on going up and up, round spiral staircases, up ladder, past the clock face, past the bells until we were literally in the tip of the tower, it was not possible to get any higher. The views were stunning and it was a really unique way of climbing to see a view of the city. Loads of fun and in our view a far better option than the TeleferiQo.
After our fun and games of the day we went out to a shopping centre to try and get some new clothes as the local shops seemed to sell only items in lime green or pink with added studs and sparkles. Unfortunately the shopping centre we found was at the other end of the scale being more of a top end
fashion shopping establishment and our budget didn't extend to Hugo Boss!
Meeting up with Mark and Nick for a last evening meal and drinks together before they made their way into Colombia topped off yet another great day.
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