Jun 11, 2019 – We’re off on another adventure, to the South American country of Ecuador. Jim lived there with his family when he was a teen, and he is eager to see what has changed since 1962.
Where is this little country? See it there on the Pacific coast between Colombia and Peru? The Galapagos Islands are off to the west, and we saw tons of teens at the airport in Galapagos tee shirts. The national currency is the U.S. dollar. There is one hour time difference , same as Central time. We will be here for a month.
We Lyfted to the airport and hopped a short flight to Miami, then the four hour flight to Quito. The airport is an hour out of the city, and we were due to arrive late, so Jim booked us into a hostel near the airport for one night. The proprietor picked us up ( I love to see our name waving on a sign in the airport pickup area, especially after midnight!), took us to our nice clean room with hot shower, where we dropped immediately to sleep.
Jun 12 – In the morning, our host fed us ham, cheese and eggs, and showed us where to stand on the main road to flag down the bus (actually the first of two buses) bound for the city. While we waited for the bus, an Uber driver stopped and asked if we wanted a ride. He was off the clock and on his way back to the city, so Jim negotiated a half price ride right to our hotel. A win-win for everybody! Here is a view from our hotel, Casa Carpedm (carpe diem – get it?)
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is almost two miles above sea level, and built into the mountains. I could feel the altitude just walking across the street to our hotel – the thin air causes a breathless tightness in your lungs. It will take several days to adjust. Although Quito is just 16 miles from the equator, the altitude keeps it rather chilly, with a daily high temperature in the low 60s, dropping down into the lower 40s at night.
We settled in, then went off in search of lunch. The streets are steeply slanted ( think San Francisco) so we won’t go very far today. We set out for what we thought was an Indian restaurant that got five stars online, but turned out to be a set menu place, run by Hare Krishnas – who knew they were still around? For $3 apiece we got a bowl of tepid soup and an entree of tepid vegetables over rice. Not a great start… we’ll try to do better next meal.
Our hotel is near the Basilica of the National Vow, so we sauntered over for a look. This neo-gothic cathedral looks old, but wasn’t built until the early 1900s, and was only consecrated in the 1980s. It’s the largest neo-gothic in the Americas.
One of the interesting things about this church is that they included carvings of animals native to Ecuador, where the gargoyles usually are.
Inside, there were some interestingly modern likenesses of Mary:
…along with others more traditional.
There was also a Mary chapel with intricately painted pillars.
The weather went from sunny to rainy then back to sunny in the space of an hour, reminding us that although the temperatures are cool, we will be subjected to the fickle weather of any tropical climate. Note to self: tomorrow, bring your raincoat!
The view from our hotel window as the sun set. Not bad for a first day!