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Published: November 12th 2013
After the jungle we were longing for civilization, and luckily for us our next stop was Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It was a 5 h bus ride from Tena to Quito, the funny part is that the bus ride cost us only half of what we paid for the taxis from Misahualli to Tena and from Quito bus station to our Airbnb apartment. Quito is on high altitude, almost 3000 meters, so it was considerably cooler than in the jungle, especially in the apartment as there is no heating and no sun shining in through the windows.
In Quito we mainly spent out time in the old and the new town. The old town is one of the most beautiful colonial districts in all of Ecuador. It is quite touristic, with a lot of small restaurants and street vendors of all kinds. It feels as the street vendors are roaming the streets all over the old town selling just about anything, starting from more normal stuff like water and snacks, but also things like brooms, toothbrushes and clothes. At times it it hard to figure out if anyone is actually buying the stuff they are trying to sell, and
some of the vendors look as they are barely surviving.
There seems to be a church in every corner of the old town. We ventured into a couple of them, one which was an old jesuit church with gold all over the church, the other the catedral of Quito known for its artwork. The catedral was a bit hard to find an entrance to as it was behind a corner and advertised as a museum, but once we found our way in we practically had the whole catedral for ourselves. The artwork was of the Ecuadorian school inspired by local life. There was a nativity scene with a lama watching over the newborn Jesus, and the last supper with guinea pig and local, Ecuadorian fruits on the table.
The new town felt really international in many ways. The houses are modern, the cars new, the stores are big international chains. We often felt like we were in a generic large european city, there wasn't really anything reminding us we were in South America. Well, except 1000 meter high mountains surrounding us and some indigenous people walking around, and of couse that you get out of breath everytime you
have to walk uphill. We took full advantage of the international feel, after 6 weeks of almuerzo (set lunch usually consisting of a soup, and some chicken or fish with rice) we were more than happy to eat sushi, pasta, waffles and other international cuisine.
After a few days of aclimatization we felt ready to go even higher. There is a gondola lift in Quito by which you can rise to 4100 meter, the highest either of us had ever gone (except for in an airplane). It was also up in the clouds, so 10 minutes after we had reached the top everything disappared in a thick mist. It was also quite cold so even though we had taken warmer clothes with us we quite quickly got cold and decided to get back down to 3000 meters again.
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