Thursday, September 18, 2008


The plane got into Quito about 4pm after having to get off and on again in Guayaquil. Unfortunately our luggage didn't seem to be there... of 7 of us who went through to Quito 2 got their luggage straight away and the other 5 had a long uncomfortable wait for another 90 minutes fearing the worst. However, the bags did turn up eventually and I was able to share a taxi part of the way into town and walk the rest and get a hostel. I'd made vague arrangements to meet some people from the first half of the Galapagos trip that evening, but the directions were crap, so I ended up in the wrong place, but they weren't at the other place anyway, so I just internetted a bit and had quite an early night. Finally I had a large bed, that wasn't being tossed about on the sea, however, it took me quite a while to shake the feeling I was on a boat.

Next day I had some stuff to sort out - I managed to book a trip for myself to the amazon, get the bus ticket for that and put in my underwater camera to the shop. Then I did manage to meet Zoe, Mark and Allison from the first trip for lunch despite them giving me dodgy directions again. It was nice to catch up and we agreed to meet again in the evening. Then I headed on a long walk through the mean streets of Quito to find the office of my airline company - I'd booked online and hoped they really existed and would give me a ticket! Thankfully they did. I then took another walk up a big hill to visit the Guayasamin museum. He was a popular Ecuadorian expressionist artist who'd also collected pre-columbian artefacts and colonial art. These collections were on display along with his own work, which I quite enjoyed. Also further up the hill was his apparently amazing 'chapel of man'. Alas, it was shut on Mondays. At least there was a reasonable view over the town from up on the hill. I took the long walk back to the Mariscal area where I was staying. I met Zoe, Mark and Allison again for dinner. They were heading off on another long trip on a bus and their other three passengers, Sven, Qwen, and Tootji were there along with there two crusty south african guides. The rather strange venue the guides had chosen was an Irish bar. After dinner the 4 of us Galapagos adventurers headed on and tried a few bars, including a small edgy salsa/shisha bar with no-one in it. In the end we looked for a club but only Zoe and I went on. Cue more bad dancing from me, no wonder my legs are still sore. The place wasn't bad and it was £1 for 2 bottles of beer. That might explain the slightly stinking sorehead I had most of the next day!

Tuesday was my day to see the old town of Quito. I walked to the old town and aimed to go into the big national museum, but it was closed for refurbishment. I continued on to the Basillica de Voto National. A relatively modern church on a hill, whose main attraction was that you could go climbing up all the towers and on the roof in various ways that probably wouldn't get past health and safety in the uk. There were good views and I had fun scrambling around, I spent quite a bit of time here. I then wandered on to the plaza grande, which was quite nice and had the obligatory protest march present in all South American cities. Next up was the compania de Jesus, a very ornate church gilted with 7 tonnes of gold. It also had some rather interesting pictures of what awaits us all in hell, with specific punishments for specific sins. Pity the traitors whose fate seems to be being stabbed in the nads with a giant trident. Then I headed up to the Plaza San Francisco where the San Francisco Monastery was also closed for refurbishment. I wasn't quite having the best of luck on this visit to Quito. I then walked back via a circuitous route and ate (I found a curry house, mmm) and did a lot of internetting (this blog takes time you know!) before taking a dodgy walk with my rucksack at 11pm to the bus station for my bus to the Lago Agrio, down in the Ecuadorian Jungle.

Iguana Detail on the Voto National.

The clock towers of the Voto National and view over Quito old town.

Me up umpteen ladders very high in the left hand clock tower in the photo above.

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