Quito - the centre of the world!
Trip Start Aug 25, 2010
65Trip End Ongoing
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We arrived in Quito at 1.30pm, a beautiful place, the first UNESCO world heritage site city, set at 2,850 metres above sea level and surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. Famous also because of its monument to the equator, just on the outskirts of the city.
A taxi was ready and waiting for us at the Airport (thanks L┴uberge!), again we had a lovely taxi driver and managed to converse with him in Spanish for 20 minutes on the way to the hostel! - well done Aff for doing the majority of the talking! He was a really nice guy and gave us in the low down on the the city, which he had lived in for 20 years - invaluable information
We arrived at the hostel, which has nice, clean rooms around a courtyard. After the emotional roller coaster of the last couple of days (sad to leave friends and family, excitement and nerves of the adventure ahead, and scared of not being able to continue), as well as little sleep and the combination of the altitude we were pretty tired and went to bed early and slept for 12 hours!
The next day we set about exploring the city, but began to notice that the beauty was interwoven with poverty. This is a very beautiful city but you need to keep your wits about you. At any point in the city you can see the mountains which surround it but you are brought back to earth by the reality of privately armed security guards, guarding everything from banks to fast food restaurants.
Day two in Quito we woke up early to take in the sights of the old town (centro historico) and do some exploring. The old town is very beautiful, with narrow cobbled streets winding up the hills and old colonial buildings lining the streets. There were shoe shiners and street vendors on every corner and children scaring the pigeons in the square. We went to El Panecillo, which is a view point on top of one of the hills, with an impressive statue of the Virgin of Quito. From this vantage point you can see all of the faces of Quito from the old quarter to the modern quarter and the mountains behind, definitely worth a trip up there.
Tomorrow we leave the hassle and bustle of Quito and travel to Otavalo a small market town in the mountains.