Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#travelpost - Quito and Mindo, Ecuador

We crossed the border with no problems and after a bit of a slog of a bus ride getting to the capital Quito, we made it. We arrived just before 5 so dropped our bags off and had enough time to wander down to the main square and get our bearings.

The first thing I noticed was the altitude... they said in Bogotá that we might have had problems but we were alright... Quito is even higher. I was ok but you can just feel it in your body, you get immediately tired and breathless every time you go for a walk. I constantly felt like I was being lazy even though I'd spent my days walking up and down the steep streets. So, because of the tiredness, we tried to fill our days and rest at night... Quito old town made that easy as after 8pm everything closed and left us with nothing to do unless you had the energy to get a cab across town which the boys did do one night.... I spent my evening watching some Kardashian fuelled guilty pleasure tv. 

Back to Quito.
It reminded us a lot of Lisbon... crumbling but pretty buildings, narrow shops, steep inclines and hole in the wall restaurants. 

Day one:
We started our first day by heading up to the top of the Basílica del Voto Nacional for a view of the city. The steps weren't too bad until we had to cross a weird walkway above the arched ceiling... there was a black steep ladder that we had to go up but I got half way and made the mistake of looking down so I immediately decided that I'd made it high enough for myself already. Harry kept going and came back 15 minutes later in shock and almost white .... apparently the steep set of ladders only led to two more sets.. outside... in the open air... vertically up the side of the tower. He did it but he didn't seem happy.  The rest of our day led to some squares, a market, some free museums, a hole in the wall for lunch and an old school cafe that our book had recommended us. I tried the local hot drink ponche, it was described as an eggy milk drink topped with cinnamon... it was strange but wasn't too bad. It taste like a liquid egg custard haha and was served in a huge jarra glass. That night we made the most of having a big kitchen and not many people to share it with and made a steak and onion sandwich! 

Day two: 
For our second and last day in Quito we bought some granola for breakfast and had it with our free eggs and bread, did some catching up via facetime and caught the bus to the equator! We had to catch two busses and it took us just under an hour, it was easy and cheap. When you get there it's made to feel like a small village... with different museum buildings, restaurants, cafes and gift shops. Right at the back is the huge monument labelled North, South, East and West and there's a small area with a egg and a nail... you can balance the egg on the nail if you try because there's less gravity. After, we did some touristy things, took photos, picked up some odd bits from the gift shop and off we went back into town. We didn't do much else for that day as we'd seen a lot of the old town the day before and the altitude really gets to you when you're on the move so after some food we ended up back at the hostel for a siesta. That night we cooked in again and had a cute veggie pasta dish and sprawled it to new episodes of Modern Family and the Goldbergs. Bliss.

The next morning we had eggs and granola and set off to Mindo for 9 o`clock. Mindo is a small town 2 hours from Quito, it's famous for a handful of adventure sports and birdwatching. We stayed in Cabañas Armonia, a cutesy set of wooden cabins filled with checked wool blankets and a hammock in the front porch. We stayed in Mindo for two nights overall... we went zip lining over the forest canopy which entailed having to throw my legs up in the air whilst my head and arms were dangling below.... it was terrifying and it was called the butterfly. Minus the butterfly it wasn't scary at all, there was a superman move and me and Haz even got to do one together! The only other thing we did in Mindo, except go for a few quiet beers, was the chocolate tour... we tasted the beans fresh from the pod, after fermentation and after roasting, we had a tour of the farm and then we got to taste! With coffee... with chilli... with bbq... and the best brownie I've ever tasted. I've tasted a lot of brownies.

So that was our welcome to Ecuador over with. So far we love it and we're about to slowly work our way down south and then head to the coast!

Ciao x

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