Day 2 - Quito City Tour

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June 11th 2019
Published: June 12th 2019
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After a very late night arrival and adjusting our start time for the morning, we woke up to people talking in the hallway. Boutique in Spanish must mean "paper thin walls." The hotel, however, is old and really cute. We started with a colorful breakfast with some great local fruits, eggs and bread since he didn't get any dinner the night before. We met our guide Ramiro promptly at 10 AM to start our city tour. The weather did cooperate for the most part. It was low 60's and a bit overcast when we started but the sun did come out later in the afternoon. Our hotel was a few short blocks from the historic city center. The city center was bustling with tourists, locals and lots of police. Ramiro informed us that the city was getting ready to celebrate one of its own for winning the 2019 Tour Du' Italy. We had only heard of the Tour du France, so any way, good for him.

Our guide is very passionate about his city and culture. He explained how the main square has the main parts of the city represented. On one side, the big white building is where the President works and lives. you can basically walk up to the front steps. Across from that is the Central Bank, on the other two sides was City Hall and the large cathedral. We continued to walk around as Ramiro took us into the four main churches in the area. They were all very beautiful, ornate and distinct. One church was brimming with gold EVERY WHERE. One church had an amazing wooden ceiling, and all of them were stunning in architecture and culture. You know you have a good guide when it says no pictures are to be taken inside the churches, and he grabbed Kirsten's cell phone and stealthily snapped photos in every church. We even posed for a few and that never happens. We have more pictures of the two of us on day 1 of this trip than we take on most of our long trips. The style of every church was different but the Gothic one that resembles Notre Dame had gargoyles that represented Ecuador. They were turtles and lizards from the islands and jaguars and ant eaters from the rain forest. That was pretty cool. The ceilings in the churches was some of the more ornate wood carvings we have ever seen.

One of Ecuador's biggest exports is Cacao!!! We are talking chocolate baby!!! We might have sampled and then bought our combined weight in dark chocolate already. The dark chocolate is not bitter at all and it is mixed with exotic fruit and other flavors. We are on a mission to try them all.

After visiting the churches we made our way back to the main square just in time to watch and listen to the mayor of Quito reap praise on the bicyclist who won the race in Italy. Of course we didn't understand anything that was being said, but the mayor gave the guy a puppy for winning! Chester thought that was a great idea for a gift! She would like to trade in her Teacher of the Year plaque for a puppy. All Kirsten thought was that was a really dumb gift and she claims to have seen the puppy wondering the streets alone later in the afternoon.

From the churches and the city center, we hopped in the car and drove to a large market. Now remember, our original itinerary had us driving 2.5 hours to Otavalo to go to the market there. Thank goodness we opted for the Quito city tour. It was a simple market, and everyone knows that Kirsten and Chester are not fans of shopping. So we were able to get the goods for our family and friends here and not have to be in a car for 5 hours to buy the same stuff. Disaster averted and shopping complete (except for more chocolate)

Our day tour was coming to an end and that means time for lunch, drinks, walking around on our own and writing the blog. We had lunch at a Cevicheria and the ceviche was really good, but ore like a cold soup. Chester loved the place as they had the Ecuador/Korea U20 World Cup Soccer game on a big screen. Kirsten tolerated it because they had popcorn, banana chips and it was raining outside. The city is in the highlands, hence the cool weather at approximately 10,000 feet. It is pretty hilly with old brick and cobblestone streets. It is a UNESCO heritage site so it is kept very clean. The outskirts of the city have high rise apartments and homes and a bit more modern. We sat in the beautiful court yard and drank wine while we caught up on e-mails.

As we didn't get a lot of sleep the first night, it was cold outside and we at a late lunch, we opted to eat at the hotel. We had the traditional potato and avocado soup and hot chocolate for dinner and head to bed early.

Tomorrow's wake up call is an early one, as we will meet Ramiro at 6:50 AM. He will take us to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands! Now we can get our wild on as we are ...........Girls Gone Galapagos!!!!

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