Getting to the Capital

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hotel Flores Quito
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We slept well in the tent and were undisturbed by the busy road that was nearby. After our usual oatmeal breakfast, we took the tent down and set off. Within half an hour we were in Guayllabamba, and filled up the remainder of our water bottles, that we didn't have enough water
to fill in the morning. The road quickly descended into a dry, desert valley, where there was a lot of roadwork construction going on. We slowly climbed back out of the valley, at rate that was invisible to the naked eye. It was slow going and Kory was struggling because he was still tired from the illness. On this occasion, I was feeling good and was excited to get into Quito. We stopped numerous times to have some water and to rest for a few minutes.

We finally made it to the level of Quito, which was at just under 3000m, which was about a 1500m climb. As we arrived into the outskirts of the city, we stopped for some lunch, but could only face eating some soup, as we are both only just getting better. We stopped at a small cafe and filled up all our water bottles, and ate some delicious chicken and potato soup with the local construction crew.

As we continued onwards, we saw a sign for La Mitad del Mondo, which is the main equator monument in Ecuador. As we realised that we had missed the other monuments, we decided to head towards the one in Quito. We cycled along the ring road for about half an hour, before seeing another sign, at which point it twigged that the signs weren't saying how far away it was. Therefore we stopped and asked a man on the street, with my amazing Spanish skills and probably difficult to understand accent, it took a while to make him understand what we were asking for, even though we were stood next to a sign for the monument.  He just kept saying "pizza?", um, no thanks, i know that we are westerners but we aren't always looking for pizza!  In the end he informed us that the monument was half an hour away, by car. Therefore we decided to give up on the idea and just follow the road into Quito instead. It took about another hour to cycle into the historic part of the city, as the traffic was fairly busy and there were lots of traffic lights. It was much easier than the cycle into Medellin though, as the roads were much wider and the traffic wasn't going as fast.

We arrived into the old historic area and checked into a hotel, that was recommended by the Lonely Planet, which would prove to be a mistake but we didn't realise it at that point. We were both quite tired but had just enough energy to look around the main center for a little while,
as the sun was setting. It was beautiful how the light illuminated the old, colonial buildings, and we took some photos of the main square. We also noticed a statue that was lit up on the hill, overlooking Quito, which was of the Virgin Mary, but for some reason she was perched on top of a dragon, and had wings and a halo.  We never could quite find out why it was such an unusual configuration but it looked impressive from the streets below.  We walked around for an hour or so, and tried desperately to find somewhere for food, unfortunately the restaurant options were slim pickings. Lots of them were closed, and somehow we ended up having KFC, which was even worse than it is in the western world. Oh well, we will sleep well tonight knowing that we have the day off tomorrow to rest up and explore the city center.
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