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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito August 20th 2019

Dear All Greetings from Quito, capital city of Ecuador, and at 2,850 metres above sea level, it’s the second highest capital city in the world (after La Paz, Bolivia, at 3,640m). I arrived here after a comfortable 3.5 hour bus journey from Riobamba on Friday afternoon, although things haven’t really quite turned out as I expected… My plan was to do Quito on Saturday, visit the nearby Cotopaxi volcano on Sunday, and take a trip to the actual equator which runs through Ecuador just north of Quito on Monday. Saturday’s plans went well, but unfortunately I ate something dodgy on Saturday afternoon, and came down with gastroenteritis on Saturday night. I have since been holed up in my lovely room in the Ibis Hotel, giving myself some much-needed down-time and TLC. I feel a little frustrated ... read more
TeleferiQo
La Virgen de Quito
Me, View from La Virgen de Quito

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito June 25th 2019

Here, lovely June is finishing and I felt the need to catch up with my writing. This time, I will be dealing with a new South American destination, and a way of travel I hadn't experienced by myself, that is...backpacking. Had I actually done it before? alone...alone? well...not really, I can't recall more than just booking hotels, but getting my gear and getting away on my own...I gather this was it. And guess what? I visited 2 hemispheres at the same time, that's right... De nuevo, por aquí tratando de adelantarme en mi atrasada escritura. Esta vez, les estaré compartiendo una experiencia en Sur América que no había tenido antes, mochiliar! Creo que esa es la traducción. Pero dirán, será que lo había hecho antes? a ver, sólo, sólo, no creo. En el recuerdo, tengo la ... read more
What a lovely scenery
Buying T-shirts for family
The beautiful Old Town in Quito

South America » Ecuador » North June 11th 2019

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 ... read more
Galapagos Gargoyles
Amazon Gargoyles
DSC_0738

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center June 10th 2019

Another year and another trip for Kirsten and Chester, but with everything going on in our lives, we decided to stay in the western hemisphere and keep the trip a bit shorter than our normal vacations. Also because we couldn’t find more than 8 straight days with no one visiting us in Denver. With that being said, this did not mean we couldn’t check-off another bucket list item. We are heading to Galapagos Islands off Ecuador for 8 days. Our usual decision on destinations was a bit rushed and this was a bit of a last-minute selection, simply because we are running out of places Kirsten or Chester haven’t been. But this is one of those places neither one has visited. The days leading up to the trip were a bit hectic. Kirsten had to travel ... read more
Hotel Courtyard

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center March 20th 2019

It’s finally here, the last day of our trip. We don’t leave for the airport until 3 pm, so this morning we are visiting the Palacio de Gobierno, which I have finally managed to obtain tickets for. The tour is free but needs to be reserved by email (in Spanish) so I’m quite proud of my achievement. Time to pack one last time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve packed and unpacked. It’s strange to think that next time I unpack it’ll be in my own bedroom, closely supervised by my cats. First, a weirdly disjointed breakfast; scrambled egg, a cheese toastie, an empanada, onion chutney, butter and jam. What are we supposed to do with the butter and jam? Dip the empanada in it? Spread it on the cheese toastie? Or maybe mix ... read more
Palacio de Gobierno
Palacio de Gobierno
Guayasamin mural

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito March 19th 2019

Today we are doing something we rarely do; taking the Hop on Hop off Bus. We start at the spectacular San Francisco church, an exercise in how much gold can be squeezed into one building. It’s apparently the biggest church in South America. (The Ecuadoreans have a creative way of measuring things to ensure their stuff is bigger and better. For example, Cotopaxi is higher than Everest if you measure from the centre of the earth, rather than sea level.) The bus heads up the Panecillo, a small hill with an aluminium statue of the Virgin Mary on top. It’s an interesting journey in a double decker, navigating the narrow, winding streets and low hanging electric cables. The Virgin, which is taller than Christ the Redeemer (obviously) sits atop a dragon on a globe. You can ... read more
Drive through Quinton old city
El Panecillo
El Panecillo

South America » Ecuador » North » Mitad del Mundo March 18th 2019

Today we are going to the equator. On the way there, it rains so heavily it’s difficult to tell if we’re driving down a road or a river. Rubbish floats past the windows when we stop at traffic lights. Luckily it eases off before we arrive. First stop is the Intiñan Museum which claims to be on the GPS equator. Here we take a guided tour which includes such activities as balancing an egg on a nail and trying to walk along the equator in a straight line, plus demonstrations in chocolate making and head shrinking. Then on to the Mitad del Mondo, a kind of equator based theme park which claims to be on the geographical equator. We only have 28 minutes here and in addition to a plethora of equator based photo ops, there ... read more
Equator
Balancing an egg at the equator
Equator

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito March 16th 2019

Today we are sightseeing in Quito and changing hotels. There is an important reason for this prearranged change, but the old man can’t remember what it is. Our new hotel is 1 km away. The old man is too tight to pay for a taxi ($1.25) but worried it isn’t walkable with luggage, so we are to do a ‘trial run’. After staking out our hotel, we head for the Plaza Grande, which is no longer barricaded off. We want to tour the Palacio de Gobierno, but you have to book in advance (thanks Lonely Planet). Next, we visit the Museo de la Ciudad. This is housed in a 17th century hospital and gives (theoretically) a chronological history of Quito. The old man gets impatient and bypasses a group of school kids, so we are going ... read more
MuNa

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center March 11th 2019

Today we’re going sightseeing in Quito – primarily churches as most tourist attractions are shut on Mondays. The Colonial South American town centre is so formulaic I could walk it in my sleep; main plaza with cathedral and government palace. On either side, plazas containing the churches of San Francisco and Santo Domingo. And somewhere in the middle, the Jesuits, who took a vow of poverty but coated their churches liberally with gold. We try to start in the main square but there is a demonstration underway. The square is completely blocked off and circled by riot police. More and more people are arriving and most are wearing surgical masks. And I don’t think they’re doctors…. We bypass the square and head for the enormous Basilica del Voto Nacional. The old man decides to climb the ... read more
Basilica del Voto Nacional
Basilica del Voto Nacional
Basilica del Voto Nacional

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center March 10th 2019

Another interrupted night due to: 11 am – old man returning from his trip. 4 am – text from daughter number one. Both my daughters have A level maths but neither seem able to calculate time zones. 2.30-6.30 am – getting up to check on daughter number two’s progress on Barcelona Marathon App. Regular intervals all night – neighbours using the hairdryer. Either they have some weird hairdressing fetish or they’re holding it under the smoke detector so they can smoke in bed without evacuating the hotel (again). In the morning we head for the airport for our flight to Quito, the world’s second highest capital. We’re going 800 miles further north and 2850 metres higher in altitude. It’s been a long trip so it feels good to be flying 800 miles closer to home. Once ... read more
Plaza de Santo Domingo
La Ronda
La Casa de los Geranios




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