Quito, Ecuador, South America
I had a good day checking out the old town in Quito today. I found a free walking tour of the city put on by another hostel that started at 10:30am. It worked out really well that the hostel was very close to mine, it was an Ecuadorean guide (who spoke perfect English), and there were 18 of us who all spoke English as well. It was a great chance to get to meet people while seeing the city.
We checked out the central market, a couple of churches, a couple of traditional parts of the old city, and we got to see the changing of the guards at Independence Square. We were really lucky because they only do this on a Monday morning at 11am, so if I’d chosen to go on this tour any other day, I would have missed it. It was quite the show, with at least fifty guards, music playing, men on horses, and the Vice President of Ecuador was even there. It was great.
I met a few nice people on the tour, including a couple of Americans who are doing a very similar trip to me, so We exchanged information and hopefully I’ll catch up with them further south. I also met an English guy named Pesh, who is also traveling for one year on his own, so we stuck together to do a bit more sightseeing after lunch. Our tour guide, Obi, took us all to a local place for lunch. It was $2 for a potato soup, roasted chicken with rice and mashed potatoes, and a glass of juice. You can’t beat that.
After lunch Pesh and I checked out the basilica in the city that is pretty impressive. It’s up on a hill so it really stands out in the city over everything else. The inside of it was not too impressive, but we were able to climb up one of the spires and get a great view of the city from the top. It didn’t feel like the safest way to the top though. You had to cross some sort of wooden bridge above the ceiling of the church, before getting to a series of ladders you had to climb to reach the top. I’m sure a lot of people get to the bottom of the ladders and turn back. It’s not something everyone would be able to climb. It was worth it though, the view was excellent.
Pesh and I split up after the basilica and agreed to meet up for dinner. It was good because it gave me a couple of hours to chill at the hostel. We met up at 7:30pm in the new town, which I hadn’t seen yet. My hostel is close to the old town, but Pesh is near the new town, so I got a taxi over to Plaza Foch to grab a bite to eat. We found a good italian restaurant called Casa Nostra and had a couple of pizzas. They were excellent. It was nice to have italian food that wasn’t Domino’s for a change. We had planned on going out for a drink after the meal, but we were both so full, we couldn’t stomach it. We just split up from there and I got another taxi back to the hostel. It was a good day, and I’m glad I got to see a lot of Quito. I’m heading out of the city tomorrow to a small town called Baí±os. It’s a few hours outside of Quito and I’m looking forward to getting out of the city.