Quito, Equador: Middle of the earth, cable cars, views from the cathedral and Cotopaxi volcano

Quito is the capital of Ecuador located near the north of the country. It is a huge city with lots of different history and architecture, surrounded by mountains. It has quite a lot to do with free walking tours, art and history museums, hikes, cables cars and middle of the earth.

The following morning, I wanted to just ignore the fact I was ill and got ready for the day. We went to meet my friend’s friend from Germany for breakfast in the main plaza. Unfortunately after eating, I felt extremely sick again so I returned back to the hostel to rehydrate and sleep while my friend joined the free Quito walking tour.Photo-13-2-17-4-12-47-pm-768x1024

After a few hours, my friend came back to the hostel to meet me. I didn’t want to waste my day so with an energy drink, I was able to see some parts of Quito. First, we walked to the central market, which was full of fruit and vegetable stalls as well as little food places. Here,  one could buy traditional, hot food, where my friend got a bowl of something meaty with potatoes in a soup. However, I wasn’t feeling up to eating. We bumped into the tour guide from this morning, who told us about different food, which we needed to try, as well as inviting us to a reggae-Ecuadorian night out.

Then we looked at this hostel to find out about tours for the next day before strolling to Quito Cathedral. We knew we wanted to climb up the towers so we paid the admission to go inside the huge, beautiful church full of stain glass windows and statues of Catholic scenes. Searching for the staircase to the towers were impossible. After a while, we asked, where we found out that there was another entrance if we wanted to climb the stairs.  This was slightly annoying as we had to pay twice when we would have prefer to just go up the two towers. I took the lift as far as I could as I was feeling rough but the last part was some dodgy stair, which I was slightly scared about climbing. However, the view was totally worth the effort. It was a beautiful sight of the whole of Quito. On the way up were several levels with a gift shop and different architecture. The clock on the tower confused us as it wasn’t the correct time but when we looked a little later, the time had complete changed not in accordance with the time gone.

 

Once we had wandered around the cathedral quarters, we decided to walk for a long time to Mariscal, basically ‘gringoland’ with expensive bars and restaurant, tour agencies and thousands of tourists. It was a nice walk and a lovely area to explore. We found some tour agencies to find out the prices to do a day excursion. After we dawdled the half a dozen kilometres back to out hostel, taking a different route so that we could see different areas and parks.

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In the evening, we just made some food and I went to bed early as I found the day exhausting, still feeling slightly ill, while my friend went out to meet one of her friend’s.

The next day when I woke up, I was feeling so much better so we raise from our bed early to do some exploring. Feeling full from breakfast, we left the hostel and took a taxi to Teleferiqo, cable car to the top of the mountain. We purchased our ticket and hop on the cable car to the top. Down in the city, the weather was bright but as we inclined up, overlooking Quito, the weather became worst with clouds covering our vision. Once we reached the top, the view was non-existent with chills filling the air. We walked around to find a church and the start of a famous trail, however, I didn’t have the energy to hike miles and miles. In the end, we disappointment rising up inside us, we just gave up; nothing was open, no-one was around and the weather wasn’t going to shift anytime soon. As we climbed aboard the cable car to go down, we were given a heart-shaped balloon and some chocolates as it was Valentines day. The lower we got, the more the shape of the city came back into shape.

Back at the bottom, we caught a taxi back to the centre as I wanted to see the guards changing but this never happened. This day was definitely not going to plan. We check out our hostel as we want to change to the neighbourhood ‘Mariscal’ as we were planning a night out as well as wanting to get up early for an excursion.

We wandered around the city, poking our heads in little, quaint, artistic shops and taking a look at Museo de la Ciudad. It had beautiful patios and information about how the history of the city. The only disadvantage was that most of the signs were in Spanish. Afterwards, we walked to a tiny shopping area with a cheese shop, where we tasted samples and a chocolate shop, ordering hot chocolate and various naughty desserts. It was to die for with the richness of the chocolate.

Mid-afternoon, we gathered at a hostel to take us to the ‘Middle of the Earth’. The ride took nearly an hour to get there in the van, through the busy traffic. First we took a guide tour of the museum explaining the customs and beliefs of the indigenous people, ending with the statues of the ‘middle of the world’ where the equator line was believed to be. We took several photos and did a few tests with water swishing and balancing an egg. However, it was recently found that the equator line wasn’t actually there so no too far away, there is now a moment to show exactly where it is. We visited this before heading back to the centre.DCIM122GOPRO

 

We returned to our hostel, where we collected our bag and took a taxi to the our new hostel. Once we had checked in, where we had a private room, we got changed ready for the night out. In the common room, we started drinking and eating cheese and biscuit that we had bought earlier. On of my friend’s friend joined us, listening to music and chatting. For the rest of the night, we partied in a club, dancing the night away.

The next day, we had to wake up super early as we were being picked up to be taken to Cotopaxi Volcano. Forming part of the chain of volcanoes known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, Cotopaxi is one of Ecuador’s most-active volcanoes, with 86 known eruptions. It is the second-highest summit in the country and is among the world’s highest active volcanoes, reaching a height of 5,897 meters

We were both feeling rough but after some sleep and plenty of water, we were feeling refreshed again. On the way, we stopped off at a viewpoint of the city, then a restaurant to eat breakfast and then little market to buy clothes to keep us warm as we were informed that it was going to be cold.

Driving up rocky, mountainous paths, we reached our start point of the trek. With all our warm clothes and walking boots, we hiked up Cotopaxi Volcano on the windy road, which was a bit tough due to the altitude and tiredness, to the base point. We couldn’t go any further up because of the season, we were in so we sat, rested and drank a cup of coco tea to feel better from the altitude. The view wasn’t that great as it had clouded over.Photo-15-2-17-11-34-10-am-768x542

On the way back down, it started snowing, turning into rain, where we slid more than walked back down the mountain to the van., whilst only seeing about a metre in front of us. From here, we took down the bikes and cycled down to a beautiful lake along a bouncy road. I decided not to ride on bikes as I was still not 100% and cycling is not my favourite thing to do but I did get to walk around the lake and take pictures.

After, we drove back to the restaurant to have some lunch. This was probably the best food I’ve had in Ecuador; a delicious soup, vegetable main and a lovely dessert. I was totally full afterwards.

Our transport drove us back to our hostel, where we arrived mid afternoon. We rested with a coffee in the hostel until it was time to leave. Then we took a taxi to the Quito airport, ready to leave the country. Once we had checked in and gone through security, we waited for our flight number to be called before boarding the plane. The flight was uneventful and pretty quick.

It was early hours of the morning when we arrived in Bogota airport. We collected our bag and went through security successfully before catching a taxi. The taxi driver was extremely talkative and that time in the morning, I couldn’t comprehend Spanish. My mind was bowing with concentration. Eventually after taking us the longest way possible, we got to our hostel. The receptionist showed us our room, where our beds weren’t prepared so he managed to wake up the whole room. As soon as they were ready, I collapsed in a pile and fell asleep.

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