City of hats and stolen wallets


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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito
March 1st 2013
Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -0.223151, -78.5127

Quito was both a start and end place for our Galapagos trip, and a place from which to go to Otavalo (2 hours way) for its famous craft market on Saturday, and a city in its own right - actually the second highest city in the world after La Paz so we were back on altitude alert.
The high point was our tour of the old city (one of the earliest UNESCO world heritage sites) organised by the Metropolitan Police. Not very well known those tours so we had our young, female policewoman all to ourselves -made us feel quite important!
After leaving her we took a very crowded trolley bus to the cultural centre to go to the City Museum, and after we had been there about 10 minutes Peter went to get something out of his pocket, his trouser pocket, only to discover his pocket had been cut and his wallet was gone! We assume it happened on the trolley bus but he didn't feel a thing! All his credit and debit cards, driving licence etc and about £100, Very stupid of us to be so naive. The people at our hotel were very sympathetic but said they always warn people not to take buses because foreigners are always targeted! So lots of phone calls to the UKto stop all the cards. Fortunately Liz had a couple of cards with her so life continued and bills could be paid.
Peteralso fulfilled his promise to himself to buy a good quality Panama hat (Panama hats are made in Ecuador!) and a visit to Homero Ortega ticked that box (Liz enjoyed herself in the store sporting a £500 hat - more than she wanted Peter to pay! Peter also bought a felt hat at the tourist information store and we both bought cheaper Panamas at Otavalo market - so we are now carrying lots of hats!
We also went to the Foundation set up by the artist Guayasamin (not well known in the UK maybe?) whose huge protest paintings are very powerful. The visit included a tour of his house conducted by a striking and excitable Russian lady! Liz is determined Dulwich Picture Gallery should be the first in the UK to feature his work!
Otavalo market was a full day outing and a Quito high point, which meant we were killing time waiting for Saturday to arrive - but Peter had a bad cold and after all the early starts of the Galapagos and the Amazon it was good to take things a little more slowly. The market is vast completely filling the central square and most of the streets around so it took a while to wander round and buy a few bits.


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