Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
Trip End Jul 20, 2010

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Traci and I have arrived here safely last night.  It is hard to believe that we are actually here in the Andes mountains.  Both of us are staying at Backpacker´s Inn in La Mariscal.  My backpack have not arrived here, yet.  We are going to explore Quito/Old Town today.  More to come later...

San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 1,397,698 according to the last census (2001), and, as estimated by the municipality, approximately 1,504,991 in 2005, Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of Metropolitan District of Quito. The canton recorded a population of 1,842,201 residents in the 2001 national census. In 2008 the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quito

Traci and I had a great day in Quito.  We took a self-guided tour called Old Town Walking Tour (Lonely Planet - Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands page 95).  We visited 18 different spots in the old town area, including:

Plaza Grande, Palacio del Gobierno, Cathedral, La Compania de Jesus, Plaza and Monastery of San Francisco, Museo de la Ciudad, La Ronda, Church and plaza of Santo Domingo, Basilica del Voto Nacional, Plaza San Blas, Simon Bolivar monument, Parque La Alameda, Quito Observatory
Legislative Palace, Parque El Ejido, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, and Avenida Amazonas.

La Ronda - We had a drink called Canelazo (more info below).  It was really good, warm and smooth.  The aftertaste was delicious and also powerful! You gotta try this drink some day!  ;-)

It typically consists of aguardiente (sugar cane alcohol), sugar or panela, and agua de canela (water boiled with cinnamon).  Canelazo is traditionally made with homemade aguardiente, but bottled alcohol is also used.  There are many variations on the recipe.  It is often made with fruit juice (typically naranjilla juice, but also lemon juice).  Cloves are sometimes added, and alcohol is sometimes omitted.  The origins of the drink are unknown, but the drink has long been consumed in the Andes.  In Ecuador, the drink is often sold by street vendors during fiestas.  It is especially popular on Christmas. In 2005, one business began bottling canelazo without alcohol for export. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canelazo

Basilica del Voto Nacional - We decided to visit this gothic church for it's awesome 360-degree view of Quito (see video below).  This building was built in 1926 and they used turtles and iguanas protrude instead of gargoyles.  The highlight of this place is the towers, which you can climb if you have the nerve - the ascent requires crossing a rickety wooden plank inside the main roof and climbing steep stairs and ladders to the top! 
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Momma on

Looks so beautiful and sounds like great fun. But, I'm wondering if the backpack arrived?

rustaustin on

Momma - check the Blogger for more info about the backpacker. ;-) Hugs XO

Momma on

blogger won't let me in now - it says it can't find my invitation now.

Momma on

Gosh - how'd you get that new invitationto me so fast? Blogger update was great; sure hope they get that backpack to you. Your clothes must feel like a uniform by now, "the Ecuadorean Backpack Outfit." My fingers are crossed.

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