Monday, October 28, 2013

Quito Visit, Part 1

We decided spur-of-the-moment to make a trip to Quito.  Time for a break and we love being tourists!

Over lunch, we decided to go the next day, so we made a stop at a travel agency for flights and hotel.  Our first choices for both were not available, due to the government being in session and medical and other conventions in town.  But, we didn't mind...our agent found great alternatives for us.

The next day we headed out to the Cuenca airport for an early afternoon flight on TAME.  Flights from Cuenca to Quito are about 35 minutes, so we figured we'd arrive mid afternoon and maybe avoid the commute traffic into town.

Well.......  just as we were almost touching down, the plane took off again!  We were headed to Manta, not Quito! 

The Quito airport was shut down because of weather and we needed to re-fuel and wait.  After about an hour and a half in Manta, the Quito airport opened back up and we were off. 

We arrived in Quito right in the middle of heavy commute and rain.  But, our driver was there waiting for us and we got to the hotel in a little over 2 hours.  Our driver knew all about the short cuts through town and we arrived at the hotel just fine.

This time, we stayed at the Marriott.  A fabulous choice! 

The huge lobby was filled with art and flowers.  Our room had an outside terrace and views of the mountains and the City. It was very nice and comfortable and we settled in for our adventure.

After checking the map the next morning over a buffet breakfast (included), we headed on out on foot.  Cool temps, no rain, perfect for walking.  We were feeling good and wanted to check out the neighborhoods. 

We were so pleased that we didn't feel the altitude this time!  Compared to our very first visit to Quito several years ago, our Cuenca living has acclimated us to higher altitude!  (Cuenca is about 8300 ft, Quito is about 9500 ft).  Sure beats coming directly from sea level...

We had a great time walking early morning.  Neighborhoods looked busy and prosperous.  Traffic on some streets was gridlock, but we didn't care.  We just walked over a block or 2 to avoid the traffic fumes of the major avenues.  No prob.

We were back at the hotel before the afternoon storm blew in.  It was torrential!  So happy to be back warm and dry and eating great Mexican food at the hotel.  We toasted each other for a successful and fun first day adventure.

Part 2 is all about the walks and Part 3 is our visit to the Presidential Palace.  Stay tuned. 

We love Quito!

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