24.11.2007 - 02.12.2007 22 °C
Back in Quito, we had one more night with the team, a respectable meal followed by a few drinks to drown our sorrows and to prepare us for Kathryn's departure. Kathryn's flight was early so we took her to the airport at 5am feeling terrible.
The following day only Phylis, Walter, Chris, Laura and I were left. Chris headed off that afternoon and so us 4 went to see some sights.
When we were in Colombia we met an Irish man called Leo whilst doing a night dive, he had just come from Ecuador and all he could do was warn us about this and that, bad food - (supposedly only meet and rice), safety, the people and so on. Well for us we loved it, it goes to show that as interesting as it is to hear about other peoples adventures and opinions, its important to reserve judgement.
Ecuador is the 2nd smallest country in south America but its diversity is amazing. You can travel from the Amazon Basin to the coast in one day. For us we travelled from the Galapagos to Quito.
Quito, the capital of Ecuador is a beautiful city located in the Andean mountains at the foot of Mount Pichincha 9200 feet above sea level, it is only 25k from the Equator and has a spring like climate all year.
We went to visit La Basilica one of the many old colonial churches of the city. We climbed to the top which was a touch hellraising as the ladders feel like they'll give way and there's not much in the way of safety, but when we got there and looked over the city it was definately worth it.We spent time walking the cobbled streets, getting to know the city and also went to the Pancilio monument, a tribute to the virgin Mary, again situated up high on a mountain slop.
The food was amazing, so much variety and lots of vegetables. Thanks to Phylis, Walter and Chris who found us our hostel, www.themagicbean.com We had not only a great hostel but a restaurant below with the best smoothies, salads and veggie options.
We went on a day trip with P&W to Otavalo, small indigenous town a couple of hours drive north. The whole town turns into a market on a Saturday, crazy. Selling all sorts of exciting things (well we enjoyed it... not sure about Walter). All the women dressed in their traditional clothes with babies strapped to their backs with cloth . i got a little over excited with how soft the alpaca wool was.
We tried our hands at Salsa one day. Two hours was really fun but i discovered I'm not quite as good at dancing as i thought i was. Or maybe its just the fact that the English bob along to their own rhythm compared to the grace of the latin couples Salsa and Meriengue.
Everyone had left and Laura and I were left to our own devices a loss with what to do... Help!
Thankfully we had recruited Tim the tortoise whilst on the Galapagos. Tim, so wisely named after Mr Cooney took on all his attributes. When in doubt ask Tim. We knew we wanted some Spanish lessons, my GCSE Spanish some 13 years ago had proved far too rusty in Colombia. originally we thought a weeks intensive course in Quito was a good idea but we figured, well, if we have the hardship of school why not do it somewhere with some sunshine, oh and maybe the sea. thanks to Sam, one of our Galapagos guides, he suggested Montanita. We searched online for a Spanish school and found one that had a package deal of classes, some Cabanas to stay and many other activities - Salsa, Surfing, Yoga. Perfect! So as they say 'the rest is history'...