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Published: June 23rd 2010
After 5 weeks in beautiful Colombia we finally headed down to Ecuador. At the border crossing, you check out of Colombia, walk across a bridge, and check into immigrations on the Ecuador side. Adios, Colombia!! Sad farewell! Hola, Ecuador! What have you got in store for us?
We took a van to the bus station in Tulcan and then a bus to Quito. In Quito we checked into a hostel called L'Auberge Inn that was recommeded by another traveler we met in Colombia. The hostel was really nice, more like a hotel, with a Swiss restaurant attached. We didn't get in til the evening, so we ate at the Swiss Bistro, which was expensive but really good. I have to say, I didn't have high expectations for Quito because every traveler we met who had been robbed was robbed in Quito. No one ever seemed to have nice things to say about it. We were warned by many travelers, as well as by the staff at our hostel, not to leave the hostel after dark. Suffice it to say, we followed this rule of thumb and didn't have any problems.
Quito has a very modern side, Mariscal, where a
lot of gringos live, work, and hang out. And it has la Ciudad Vieja (the old city), which is a popular tourist attraction and where many indigenous and other local people work. My guess is that they probably live in the poorer neighborhoods of the city.
Our first full day in Quito we walked down to the historic center, spending some time in a gothic basilica, going up to the top of its towers, and checking out all the main plazas and other old buildings. It was pretty, but not amazing. We happened upon a group of locals protesting either for or against the privitazation of markets. And we saw our first indigenous people, the Quechua. We found a Hare Krishna center called Divina that served vegetarian fare, so we ate a great lunch there and I returned later for a yoga class. Yoga in Ecuador is pretty much the same as yoga in the States, in case you were wondering. It felt good to get a nice stretch on.
We decided to leave the next day for a town called Mindo in the northwest. We knew we'd be coming back to Quito so we left most of
our stuff at the hostel...
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