Friday, August 30, 2013

Questing in Quito - August 6-7, 2013

The first leg of our inland adventure took us to Quito. We had the option of paying $7.50 per person for the 8 hour bus trip from Bahia de Caraquez, but we splurged right off the bat and sprung for the "executive" bus at $10 each. An easy trip but always the question needs to be asked..."why does the air conditioning need to be set on Arctic?"

We settled into our hostel, after being turned away from our first choice - apparently no room at the inn. Colonial House was a funky maze of rooms and cubbies in a 200 year old building, complete with wi-fi, a cooler full of Pilsners, and a great back garden (check out the gym equipment).  The cost....$10/person.

Colonial House, Quito
The Gym, Quito-Way
Shower Instructions
 I had put together an itinerary that called for our first day of exploring to be The Day of Views. We first tried an assault on the hill holding up El Panecillo, the Virgin of Quito, and what was to be the Holiest View. We started up the steps but quickly turned around when a local woman passed us heading in the opposite direction. Shaking her finger at us and swiping it across her throat, we got the message (easily understood in any language) and opted for a taxi instead. The 360 degree view was worth the $4 cab ride.

El Panecillo - Virgin of Quito

El Jefe - Non-Virgin of Sundancer
Next was the Deadliest View, at the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Scrambling through the interior of the church's roof, we climbed up rickety steps to get to the top of the exterior roof and then higher to the belfry, and still higher to the uppermost tower.

El Basilico del Voto Nacional
Into the Bowels
My Bat-in-the-Belfry
Combined with Quito's 2800 meter altitude, surely this was the closest Ron and I had been to God in a loooonnnngggg time.

Ending our first day was The Strangest View, at the Monastery of Santa Catalina. Actual cloistered nuns, gruesome crucifixes, and the secreted bones of an assassinated Ecuadorian president, rounded out the day in a certain style. The trip to this bell tower was also pretty great.

Santa Catalina Monastery View
 Our first day drew to a close with an awesome pizza at The San Blas Cafe, within walking distance of our hostel and just around the corner from the Bellamonte Plaza de Toros (bullfights now suspended by the current, not deceased, president). We ended up having every dinner at the San Blas.  While we didn't visit the islands, we DID get great food.

Not a bad way to start our inland travels...

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