First day of trip: Quito, Ecuador

First day of trip: Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd June We arrived into Quito late in the evening on Saturday 21st after a trip that lasted over 26hours. Each of us had our own issue to contemplate during the long journey. For Tom, that there were only shared video screens on all of the planes we caught and that he forgot his game boy re-charger. For Mark, that he was now in economy after decades in Business or 1st. And for myself, that I was completely lost after the ‘Buenos dias Senor y Senora’ in the bilingual flight announcements, even after all of my Spanish lessons! I kept wondering if any of my Spanish classmates would have fared better. ‘Steel trap’ man would have I’m sure. Quito is a spectacular city as it lies in a valley floor at 2850m high up in the Andean ranges. The city lies in a North -South orientation and is surrounded on all sides by mountain and volcano ranges. Our hotel, located in the northeastern part of the town, turned out to be quite pleasant. After having been sitting down and eating for over a day, we decided to head down to the restaurant for a late night snack before bed where I at least managed to order una copa de vino blanco. We managed to sleep until 9ish on the Sunday and went to some local Indian markets after breakfast. Tom and I managed to prevent Mark from buying one of those native fedora style felt hats that are much more suited on the locals. We did purchase 2 t-shirts for Tom and two interesting water bottles though. From the markets we ventured southwards to the Old Town and Plaza Grande that is closed off to public transport on a Sunday. There was very little open but the narrow, cobble stone streets and plazas were vibrant and filled with local people watching various amateur musical performances. Quito, especially the Old Town, has a strong indigenous character enhanced by the many locals dressed in traditional clothing. It is not surprising therefore that it is a Unesco World Heritage site. Whilst the streets are clean and the people friendly, the whole area though feels a bit like a poorer version of its Spanish relative, Madrid. Many of the key and historic basilicas and buildings are in dire need of maintenance and a good clean. From the Old Town we ventured up to a café near Parque Itchimbia for lunch. Café Mosaico is perched on the side of a hill, high up on the east side of town. We had a spectacular view over the city and, up and down the valley from this vantage point that I hope the photos will do justice to. We were also treated to the view as an electrical storm drifted down the valley to settle over Quito for the afternoon. The rain gave us a good excuse to go back to our hotel to rest and ‘blog’ for the remainder of the afternoon. Tomorrow we plan to take a ride on the new cable car, TeleferiQo, which rises up to 4100m and then to have more of a look around the Old Town and the New Town, Mariscal Sucre. Adios for now!

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