Dec. 22 – 30 Quito: Sometimes an offer is too good to refuse. We were asked by a gringo couple living in Quito if we would be willing to watch their cat and do a house exchange over the holidays. We had not yet been to Quito and the kids had a week vacation – so off we went! We were delighted to stay in an apartment instead of a hotel and another big bonus was the magnificent view over the city from their apartment.
Quito is a lovely city surrounded by the Andes Mountains with an altitude of 9,000 feet (1,000 feet higher than Cuenca). The historic center was the first city chosen by UNESCO to be a world heritage site – it certainly is beautiful and well preserved! We saw the changing of the guards, quite a few opulent churches and got a kick out of walking the streets with colonial architecture surrounding us.
Wayne’s mom came to visit for about ten days over the holiday. We lit Chanukah candles (eight white candles that most people use when the electricity goes out – placed on two disposable plates) and we spent Christmas together. Our apartment was close to a huge park where we hiked around on Christmas day.
Take a look at the slide show…some highlights for us were:
Cyclopaseo – On Sundays, the city shuts down 29km of roads, including
some through the historic center, for bicycle and pedestrian traffic only. Rachel, Wayne and Lisa rode bikes and it was FUN!
Mitad del Mundo – Ecuador gets its name from being on the equator. Interesting to stand on the equator and learn about gravitational pull!
Otavalo – the largest indigenous market in the Americas. It goes on forever! We were lucky to be there on Saturday to see the livestock market too – it is an animal rights
advocate’s nightmare, but interesting to view nonetheless.
Guayasamin’s home and Capilla del Hombre – he is probably the most famous Ecuadorian artist – his powerful art depicts human suffering and promotes human rights.
Teleferiqo/Cable car – took us up the Pichincha volcano overlooking Quito where we enjoyed breathtaking views. The best part was hiking up the volcano. Rachel even went horse riding.