Quito and the equator line

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June 3rd 2009
Published: June 13th 2009
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Between trips to the Amazon and Galapagos we spent a few days in Quito staying in both the Old City and the New City. The Old City is the older, colonial part of the city (funnily enough) so has lots of cobbled streets, plazas, government buildings, cathedrals etc. We stayed in a lovely hotel in a colonial building centred around an inner courtyard here. The New City is home to much of the commercial sector and most of the hotels and tourist oriented restaurants, although in truth we didn´t find much else to amuse us in this part of the city as the main attraction, a large park is currently closed for refurbishment.

We spent one day wondering around the Old City and admiring the architecture, albeit in the rain and there are a few pictures of the buildings there. There are several museums in the Old City but being philistines we didn´t visit them.

We did enjoy a good excursion just north of the city to the equator line and volcanic crater. The equator line has a museum showing the various different Ecuadorian cultures and traditions, which was interesting - particularly the shrunken head created by the indigenous people of the Amazon basin (the Huorani tribe) following the killing of their rivals. There were also some cute little guinea pigs in a pen there, no doubt destined for the cooking pot in the near future. The main attraction of course is the equator line itself and we conducted a few experiments demonstrating the weirdness of zero latitude. Our key findings were that Joe is weak on the equator (but super strong everywhere else) and Sarah can balance an egg on the head of a nail, but we also saw how water drains straight down at the equator, clockwise 1m South and anti-clockwise 1m North.

All in all we have spent 2 weeks in Ecuador. It´s a fascinating country with something for everyone - coast, highlands, indigenous culture, wildlife, rain forest etc. It´s a very multi-faceted destination so if you want 2-3 weeks doing a few different things, Ecuador is probably a good shout. We are flying down to Peru this evening so will add more updates from there.

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