Amazing Lake, more capital city antics....

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Monday, June 22, 2009

It was time to immerse ourselves in some proper indigenous Ecuadorian culture so we decided to check out the famous Quilota loop. Unlike most people we decided just to base ourselves in the city of Latacunga and do day trips to the villages. Most people do a four day circuit but its freezing here at night and we have had our fair share of hitchiking, sleeping in freezing indigenous houses in Bolivia, so we decided for a bit of comfort this time around...

Latacunga.. view from our hotel

Stayed in a really cheap hotel with the friendliest women ever, she insisted we join her for a coffee and i got to practice my Spanish for an hour... which was well needed.

Latacunga was a nice city, the typical South American city with the beautiful central plaza but the highlight was our day trip to the Laguna Quilota, this is the coolest lake we have seen so far on our travels. It is a lake in the middle of a volcanic crater, the most emerald colour imaginable. One problem it is at 4000 metres above sea level, being the clever clogs that we are, we decided to hike down to the lake but took the offer of a horse ride back up for $5 each.
Laguna QuilotaEmerald heaven

View at the bottom was amazing but then our horses arrived, oh the guilt, these were the most anoxeric horses ever, but it was a long climb back up and out of breath already... so we tried to supress the guilt and got on the horses... these poor horses were bringing us up a vertical mountain... we did not take pictures as donīt want to remember the pain that these horses went through for us lazy tourists. But you would not want to be an animal activist over here, they treat all their animals like shit

Following day we paid a visit to the local indigenous market at Sisquali, they were selling everything from shoe laces to spoons. Then the best part....the animal and fruit market, colourful and smelly... not good for the faint hearted like me, every part of every animal imaginable for sale, the worst was the poor live chickens hanging upside down by their feet, i skipped lunch that day.
Sisquili market


now it was time to pay the historic capital city of Quito a visit.Quito is divided into two main parts, the modern new town and the historic old town. Firstly we decided to check out the new town and its bars and restaurants, its not too often you get to sit in a bar and have a proper drink so we had to take advantage... happy hour mojito cocktails went down a treat... then we spotted a British bar with pool tables so time to practice our pool skills again.
the beer monster and pool

Of course all the locals were looking on in amazement at our talent but they are really crap at playing pool here... the best bit was the brilliant English music, you get a bit sick of the music here very quickly. One problem was they only sold litres of beer... so Stephen was drinking a litre of beer for every vodka i was having, few litres of beer later it was time to wander home with a pit stop in Mc Donalds and KFC... the dreaded munchies.

Following day we were not able for much, hangover at 2900 metres high is tough to deal with, luckily our hostel had a cinema room so sat in darkness for the day watching Lord of the Rings, you got to love the hostels over here..

Time for some culture, Sunday being the day of the Lord we decided to visit some of the historic churches, one problem they were all closed, forgot that Sunday was also the Lordīs day of rest, but there was plenty of street performers to keep us entertained..

Following morning we visited the San Fransisco church and museum, the gardens were beautiful and we also spotted a few San Fransiscan monks. Main reason we came as this is the most spectucular church in Quito, one problem it was closed for renovations. Also had a quick glance at a convent where the nuns are only allowed out of their cell for one hour a day, thats 23 hours with their thoughts alone... wouldnt be for me.
Quito angelSan Fransiscan GardensHoly stuff...

Then we decide to leave Quito, pretty place but we much prefered Cuenca, Quito is just another capital city where most of the locals try to rip you off etc

More importantly we were totally fed up of the food in Ecuador, the thoughts of more rice and chicken was making us feel physically ill, 3 weeks of basically nothing else was taking its toll... time to move to Colombia...
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