The next stop from Cuenca was to be Banos, where I would be in nature again amongst the waterfalls and the mountains for rafting, canyoning and hiking.
The morning of my leave, I woke up and suddenly a feeling hit me.
Quito? Wait, Quito!? I feel like I should go to Quito.
What’s the date? August 1st. I suddenly remembered that today was the day that my friend from Japan was flying into Ecuador on her way to Galapagos. A quick search through mails and check on Facebook and sure enough, she was just boarding the flight to Quito.
Ok, change of plans. I’m going to Quito.
Got to the bus terminal and caught a $14 bus for 8 hours. It was a great ride through the beautiful serene views of the country side of Ecuador. Patchy green and brown hills and mountains and cities popping up in the middle of it. Skies that seem to stretch endlessly. It was well worth the $14 for the scenery.
And landed in Quito.
Quito is here, the capital of Ecuador. It is at an altitude of 2,850m and is the highest capital city of the world.
Also is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
I made my way over to Old Town, the historically preserved area and the main road Calle La Ronda where my friend was staying at.
I immediately liked the vibe of the city, the beauty and its sophistication. The stone roads, the colourful European building structures and the Ecuadorian flags decorating the streets. It was also a Saturday night so packed with people enjoying the atmosphere. Really lovely.
Though I would only have a few hours to spend until my friend takes off 4;30am, but it was definitely worth coming for. After 4 months of travel, I had been missing home and friends quite a bit these few weeks and it was great to be able to speak Japanese and be close to my roots even for just a few hours.
Celebrating with beer and Empanada de Viento with Yuki. (Empanada with wind, because the empanada is flattened so large, there’s only air in it. It has sugar and a bit of cheese in it and is so good but so BAD for you at 1 in the morning…)
Decked out chocolate covered strawberries 🙂
Sending the girls off to their Galapagos Island journey at 4:30 in the morning! Have fun guys!
Next day, I was able to explore the historical district in sunny beautiful weather. And it was absolutely gorgeous and so picturesque.
Proud while churches.
Art by the Modern Art Museum
The city is surrounded by mountains so every way you look you see the houses lined up up the hill. Almost reminded me a bit of San Francisco (US)
I was also able to catch the changing of the guards at the Government building. Every Monday, the president is there to greet the crowd and you can feel the country pride.
One of my favourite places was the Basilica Church. It stands out in the city because of its tall ness, but once you get up close you are amazed at the details and the architecture. It was so beautiful and grand that I was almost speechless throughout.
Inside, it is decorated with amazing colourful stained glasses and designed windows.
Being able to peek out from various angles of the church. For only $2! This is a bargain!
And the best part was that you can go up to the very top of the clock towers and the point. And it is SUPER HIGH, the last part, you have to go up like a 80 degree ladder and I was shaking. I would not be shocked if three were a couple of incidences yearly with tourists going up.
The panoramic view of the whole city. North side and South side.
A view of the clock towers.
A beautiful day being immersed in history and culture.
Oh and the food.
Seco de Carne + Quinua Soup for only $2! $2!!! And oh so delicious.
Only third day of Quito but there’s been so much to take in!
Just came to meet my friend for one night, but I think I’m staying for a while longer.