A brief trip into Ecuador.

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Where I stayed

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Thursday, October 12, 2006

After several weeks in Colombia I crossed into Ecuador for a few days 'holiday' from Colombia. I spent my first night in Ottavalo and found a great place to stay at the Hostal Santa Fe. The rooms had just been refurbished and were lovely and I also had a great view of the mountains overlooking the town - a bargain at US$7 a night. In the nearby plaza I bumped into some friends - Karima & Adi - who I had met a couple of weeks earlier in Salento so we went for dinner and drinks. The following morning was the big Saturday market so we had a good walk around, starting with the animal market which was organised chaos with cows, pigs, sheep & chickens going in all directions. The main part of the town also has a 'tourist' market where a huge selection of pictures, clothing, souvenirs and handicrafts are for sale - lots to see but a huge crush of people. I think I saw more tourists today than in a whole month in Colombia!! I caught the lunchtime bus to Quito where I stayed at the Posada del Maple in the new town. It's a great place to stay with comfy beds, free internet and an amazing breakfast (pancakes and maple syrup included!). The hostel was full so met lots of people and many of them were working in Ecuador and having a couple of days holiday here. Quito is definitely a city of two halves - the new town is very modern with lots of hostels, internet cafes, bars and restaurants and you could easily be in the USA or Europe here. For a little piece of England 'La Reina Victoria' pub offers draft ale, shepherds pie and a warm welcome (even when the real fire isn't lit!). The old town however is a real contrast - hundreds of beautiful old buildings and busy streets where the locals sell fruit, clothes or just about anything else. At night the more impressive buildings and plazas are illuminated and are even prettier. While I was in Quito it was just a few days before an election so in the evenings there were lots of political rallies in the main plazas. These were good fun with lots of enthusiastic supporters waving flags and posters. Then, after the politicans announced their views and how good they would be at running the country there was usually a free music concert just to reinforce the feel-good factor!! With the election imminent I decided it would be a good time to leave and retraced my steps back to the border. The Colombian immigration officer spent lots of time studying every page of my passport - was there a problem?? Then he announced with a smile that I didn't have much space left before squeezing in a stamp on one of the less cluttered pages...lucky I don't have too many more border crossings to do!
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