Quito, Ecuador

Before we headed to the Galapagos for our 2 week exploration, we had a day to check out Quito. The first thing we did was go up the aerial tram for awesome views of the city and surrounding mountains. Quito sits at 9350 ft. and the tram took us up to 12,950 ft. Since we had just flown in from Miami at sea level, this was quite a difference. Last year, I hadn’t noticed the altitude much, as we had plenty of time to become acclimated, but this time, I really noticed the headache, dizziness and breathlessness when just climbing a few steps after we got off the tram.


Of course we headed on up to the swings that we could swing out over the edge of a cliff at 13,450 ft!


For those who don’t read Spanish, that translates to “swing in the clouds”. I was thinking of my sister, Ann, when we had this picture taken:


The views from the top of the world were breath-taking.


We then wandered down into Old Town, and couldn’t figure out why everyone was spraying each other with foam, until we remembered that the next day was Mardi Gras (and at least in Quito, the Monday before is a holiday, and the streets were packed). We managed to not get too soaked, and saw a number of churches and nice government buildings from the 1700s, as well as the Plaza Grande, that reminded us of the square in Arequipa, Peru.


The Basilica towered over the city, and this view begins to hint at the “verticality” of the city (we hiked up and down LOTS of streets).


When learning there was the chance to climb up the clock tower, guess what we did?


There were great views of the city:


… as well as their version of gargoyle water spouts (different bird species). {expand the picture to get more details}


The last 2 in the line, frigate and pelican, give a nice segue to our upcoming adventures in the Galapagos.


Stay tuned, for many more little friends…