The journey started in Quilotoa in what felt like a quiet place up in the clouds and ended in Quito, Ecuador's bustling capital. The three of us arrived in the old town centre and set about finding somewhere to stay as we hadn't pre booked. Each door that we knocked on had availability but at a huge cost, well out of our modest budget. Walking up and down the hills was hard work with my 12 kilogram backpack and additional rucksack, my energy had waned and I was keen to find somewhere, anywhere so I could sit down. After a quick look at Craig's maps.me app we walked to Community Hostel who miraculously had space, was budget friendly and lovely and clean. We wandered across the road for dinner at a quaint but lively brewery and played Cards Against Humanity while we ate our delicious food.
After a tasty breakfast we all decided to tag along on the free walking tour which set off just outside our hostel. First stop was at the Central Market just down the road, our guide persuaded us to buy mora (blackberry) juice as she said a visit to Ecuador wouldn't be complete without a taste. We walked by several historical buildings and listened to stories of the city, it's tough times and it's important moments. At a stop by a confectionary shop everyone bought sweet treats to munch on as we walked, I opted for a small bar which resembled white chocolate but tasted like English fudge. I was instantly taken back to long weekends at my dads house in Cornwall, my stepsister Jo works in a fudge shop and always spoils us with the creamiest crumbliest fudge when we visit.
After the tour I returned to our room to eat leftover pesto pizza from the brewery while Craig and Carl stayed out in search for lunch. I relished a little bit of time to myself in the peace and quiet. In the afternoon we walked to an imposing cathedral built in the twentieth century. After a walk inside the cavernous space we bought tickets to the towers. Up we zoomed in a tiny lift to a level with panoramic views over the city. We then walked across planks above the eaves and up a ladder to the roof above. My nerves were being tested, heights are certainly not where I feel most at home. The boys continued up another set of ladders which jutted away from the tower slightly and then back in again to a small opening. I decided to stay where I was, the fine misty rain caused the ladder to shimmer which looked a bit too slippery for my liking. While they took amazing photos from the tower I watched a brass band practising on ground level and enjoyed more of the crumbly white sweet treat. We doubled back, down the ladder and across the planks and up a different set of stairs to the clock tower. Somehow they have managed to fit a café in the clock tower so we stopped for a hot chocolate with pretty views over a rainy Quito.
The next morning we walked up the hill to the bus stop and rode an hour or so to the equator line. There's much dispute about where the line actually is and despite visiting two places I'm still not sure if we were ever actually 'on the line'. The first place we stopped at houses a huge monument with a yellow line dividing the north and south hemispheres. We had fun taking photos but it felt a little silly as we knew that the equator wasn't actually there. After lunch across the road we visited the Intiñan Museum and were taken on a fascinating tour of the outdoor museum. The guide showed us Amazonian artefacts including shrunken heads. She explained the process and that one collection of heads is at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, I was thrilled at the mention of one of my favourite museums. The guide conducted several experiments to demonstrate the science behind the equator line. She effortlessly balanced an egg on a nail head, walked perfectly straight along a line with her eyes closed and showed us how water drains differently dependant on which hemisphere you're in. There must have been some trickery involved however the tests were fascinating and helped explain the earths gravitational pulls.
The museum was more of a pretty garden than anything else and many of the flowers were in bloom which made for a lovely walk around, I spent ages retracing my steps taking photos of anything and everything. Before leaving Craig and I checked out the chocolate stand and watched a demonstration. Ecuadorian chocolate is world famous as it's such high quality. We parted with a few dollars to buy some vegan high cocoa percentage chocolate, I chose a rose flavoured bar which was pure heaven.
We jumped on a local bus back to Quito city and decided on another delicious dinner at the brewery.
🎥 Ecuador video:
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