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Published: June 26th 2010
The trip to Quito from Cuenca was uneventful but it was a treat to have a flight instead of a 10 hour bus ride. I was given the advice to sit on the right side of the plane to get a better view of the volcanoes on the way. It really was a beautiful view and I saw no less than 5 volcanoes including the famous Cotopaxi that I was able to get some fabulous close up photos of from my window. The Quito airport was fairly small and easy to navigate and it was a quick process to grab a cab outside the front door. As was told in most guidebooks it was a $6 cab ride to the New City. We had pre-booked a room at the Travelers Inn (formally Amazon) and so I went straight there to check in and wait for the girls to arrive from the states. I ventured a block or two away to a decent steak restaurant to eat dinner and then headed back to the hostel. I was told it would not be safe for me to walk around at night after 8 or 9 by myself by the hostel, so I just
decided it was easier to stay in since I wasn’t feeling well anyways.
The girls arrived on time and I was so excited to see them and have some company. We chatted some of the evening until it was pretty late and then hit the sack so we could get up to enjoy the World Cup and some of Quito the next day. It was decided that we should go out to Mitad del Mundo (where the Equator is marked) as our first activity. After breakfast we went in search of the USA game but unfortunately could only find England. So, off we went to find out how to get to the middle of the earth. The guidebooks gave us complicated explanations of the bus system and I was about to go for taking a $12 cab ride out there until I asked the guy at the coffee shop where we were. He explained that we just needed to go two blocks and we could catch a bus there. When we arrived sure enough, a bus with “Mitad del Mundo” showed up and we hopped on, simple and easy. The fare was 25 cents which got us about ¾
of the way there and then we switched buses to consolidate people, which seems to happen a lot down here. We then paid another 35 cents for the rest of the way. So, not bad $12 vs 60 cents. It took a good amount of time to get out there, but it was definitely cheaper. We arrived to the monument park and paid the entrance fee of $2. The feel I got from the place is as if it was some run down theme park that had been completely deserted. We went straight to the monument and took lots of pictures on the big yellow line that signified the equator. We decided to pay the $3 to go into the monument where there was a museum, which we quickly figured out was a bad idea. We were able to go up top and take pictures of the view, so if that’s worth $3 to you then head on in.
We decided to head on from this deserted park and saw a review in the guidebook about another museum that is right outside the park. We took a left and walked up a few hundred feet until we saw the
sign for the Inti Nan museum and walked down into what looked like an outdoor Ripley’s Believe it or Not exhibit. We decided to give it a try and paid our entrance fee and waited for our tour guide. We had a nice, English speaking guy who took us over the next hour through different indigenous culture exhibits which were actually fairly interesting. They had a shrunken head which was cool, but the best part is when we got to the “real” equator. This was the GPS determined point, apparently the monument stands on the originally identified equator line without new techniques. Thus began the fun and games. We tried to balance an egg on the equator, showed how your strength and resistance diminishes incredibly on the line and then the coolest thing, they showed how on the south side water drains counter-clockwise, the north it drains clockwise and on the line it actually goes straight down. Amazing. We asked him to repeat this one twice it was so cool. We had a great time at this exhibit and would strongly recommend this over anything else.
After the fun we headed down into the town and found a lunch
menu of soup, meat with rice and fruit cocktail desert for just $2 each. Then it was time to catch the bus back into town. We arrived in the city center and then this nice man showed us how to get to the trolly so we could take it into the Old City and the main plaza to view the cathedral. It was a beautiful old town and we loved walking around, took a quick tour of the cathedral since they were closing. Then we sat down at a beautiful hotel to have a glass of wine and a snack. The people there were really nice and recommended a new Peruvian restaurant for us and even made a reservation! We took a cab back to our hotel, changed and then headed out to eat dinner. The cab driver got confused and dropped us off like 3 blocks from the actual restaurant, so we huffed it up the hill to make it on time. The dinner was absolutely fabulous and we really enjoyed it! It was great hanging out with the girls, laughing and just enjoying ourselves. Then we wandered down the hill to the Pim’s bar where we intended on
having a Pims Cup but were sorely disappointed since they were out. Overall it was a nice end to our quick time in Quito.
The next day we took a long ride out to the new bus terminal, which is exteremely nice but VERY far out of town. It was simple to barter with the different companies for a bus ticket to Banos and we settled on $3.50 each which is a great price. Then we were off on our 3 hour bus ride through the countryside…more on Banos to come soon!
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I LOVED your photos and post from Ecuador! They reminded me of my own time there, and how amazing it all was! I'm happy to see others from the states traveling there as well, as I didn't meet many Americans in South America. My blog is looking for travel reviews, photos, etc, to share (like maybe of that amazing photo of Cotopaxi from the plane, or a review of Travelers Inn, or anything else!?). If you have the time, check it out at dirty-hippies.blogspot.com, or email me at email@example.com. Continued fun on your travels! Heather :)