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Day 141 - Quito

ECUADOR | Wednesday, 29 October 2014 | Views [167]

Was up by 7.30am and spent a good two hours sitting on the rooftop drinking cups of tea with milk (a total luxury) staring at the amazing views of Quito and doing a little trip planning. 

The boys joined me for breakfast and then headed off to meet their friend who they were staying with on the outskirts of town. I signed up for the free walking tour of the old town that our hostel offered and set off with the group to explore the city. Our walking tour guide Gaby was the bubbliest, friendliest and cutest Ecuadorian woman I have met. She took us all around the main spots in Quito, gave out lollies for answering ridiculous questions and shared candid stories about life in Ecuador, the country’s past and her beliefs about the future. We tried Ecuadorian tortillas - like a corn pancake filled with cheese - a tasty sweet and savoury fusion snack for a whole 50 cents and got shown the best fresh juice place in the city and an ATM that worked. Really interesting tour and super helpful orientation to Ecuador’s capital - Quito - which actually means 'middle of the land. 

After the tour I checked out some of the artesian markets in the main plaza and then set off to climb the clock tower in La Basilica, the largest church in Quito - an enormous, beautiful  gothic structure that gave the best views of the city and surrounding mountains. Gaby explained quite a bit about the architecture of the church, pointing out the various stone carvings mounted on the perimeters were of animals that had not biblical, but indigenous significance. The stone jaguars represented fire, the caiman’s, the rivers, the monkey’s the coastline, the anteater, the jungle and the birds the links to the sky and heavens. She also pointed out that there were parts of the church that remained unfinished, saying that this was because Ecuadorians were incredibly superstitious and believed that finishing the structure would bring about the end of days. 

I ran into the boys in the park near La Basilica and they joined me to check out the church. We met a Canadian girl inside who had just arrived in Quito and quickly formed a little crew to explore for the afternoon. I recreated the walking tour for the boys and Alia and we added in a stop for some pan de chocolate and chocolate caliente as well as for more tortillas. Finishing up at the library and art gallery I headed back to the hostel to get my washing and sort my galapagos tour, planning to meet up with the boys for some pre-dinner drinks at the hostel roof. 

The team at CarpeDM tours were fantastic at talking me through options for the Galapagos and eventually I settled on the least expensive but still expensive option - an 8 day budget boat cruise on the King of The Seas. At least 3% of the company’s tour proceeds go to community projects in Ecuador so I felt it was overall a positive investment on a guaranteed once in a lifetime experience. Notwithstanding that, coming to terms with spending two months budget on the trip I met the boys for a drink upstairs. We reunited with some of our pub quiz team, the fabulous Amy from New York and had a few new recruits which we settled in with on the rooftop for the night.

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