A Travellerspoint blog

June 2015

On the Road!

So we took a taxi back to the airport in Quito to pick up our rental car. I’m really glad we didn’t pick it up right when we arrived. Navigating the traffic and narrow streets ourselves would not have been a good way to start our trip. After a very lengthy process of paperwork, all made more challenging by the No English factor, a Hertz employee put our bags in a cute little compact car and drove us from the terminal to the parking lot. We were thinking, “Well, it’s small but it will do”. When we got to the parking lot we thought we were just dropping him off, but he promptly took our bags out and set them next to a toy car. Hmmm…He started pointing out each nick and scratch, and by the time he showed us where the toy spare tire was located I caught on that THIS was our car for the next month. Shawn and Baylie kept asking how much it would cost for an actual real car, but I was too worn out from the marathon of paperwork I had just gone through to start over. Anyway, we are now tootling around Ecuador in a wind-up toy, which on the plus side is perfectly suited for all the narrow streets!

We started our journey south and managed to skirt around downtown Quito. The highway here is very new and the road signs are good, but we still managed to get lost almost every time we hit a stupid round-about. You enter this circle that has about five ways to spit you out and before you know it you are going the wrong direction. We did finally manage to make it to Banos, but we had very vague directions to the place I had booked for us to stay. Basically all we knew was that it was “8 km de Banos”. We tried to ask in town, but no luck. With some random driving on a combination of cobblestone, mud, and gravel “roads” we started seeing signs to Las Orquideas – success! It was a journey that paid off with the most serene and lovely place. Our room has stone walls, like a cave, and big windows that look out over a valley where clouds drift by just below us. It’s cool, wet, and very green. Tomorrow we go in search of La Ruta de las Cascadas to see the surrounding waterfalls.

Posted by Pelham Family 10:09 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

At what point do you heed a warning?

There is a point above this city called El Panecillo. It is topped by an impressive statue and is a popular viewpoint. The guidebooks say that the neighborhoods at the base of the hill are not safe to walk through alone and there have been muggings. I have read on various websites that tourists should take a taxi to the top and pay the driver to wait for you while you look around. They also say that security has been improved recently and police now patrol on the weekends...hmmm...what to do? Well, we are not alone - there are three of us. And by any measure we are not small people. We have encountered only the most friendly people since we arrived....I'm sure you can see where this is going. We started the arduous climb toward the beckoning statue. About halfway to the top we met a very animated group of older ladies cooking on the sidewalk who practically threw themselves in front of us to keep us from walking up the road. They pointed us to another set of stairs to avoid the neighborhood of robbers waiting just around the bend. At the top of the stairs we met another pair of sweet old ladies who insured us that the rest of the way was perfectly safe and a very peaceful walk. The top was bustling with tourists, locals, taxis, and souvenir stands which would not have seemed half as wonderful if we had just been deposited there in a vehicle. In the end, I'm glad we squared our shoulders, stood tall, walked with confidence and carried on. If my money is a little sweaty from being stuffed in my bra, and having my phone and credit cards in the waistband of my shorts was a little uncomfortable, the walk was worth it and in the end we did evaluate our personal risk taking limits. I love travelling.
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(More pics in the gallery)

Posted by Pelham Family 11:02 Archived in Ecuador Comments (2)

The wandering has begun!

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Ready for my five weeks!

After traveling all night, and sitting through a lightening storm on the runway in Panama for an hour and a half in a full plane waiting to be able to take off, we finally made it to Quito. In our exhaustion the ride through this huge city was a blur. The taxi was weaving through the dense traffic and the tiny, narrow streets forever, but we finally made it to our hotel 17 hours after leaving our house. We were greeted by the nicest ladies, but they had about three words of English between them so my fuzzy brain had to start searching for Spanish right away. We crashed for a couple hours of sleep then went in search of dinner. We are right next to the very lively La Ronda with tons of choices for eating, and also for staying up until the wee hours singing karaoke apparently. Thank goodness for earplugs!

Today we set off for Parque Itchimbia. We ended up climbing a million stairs and hiking up some of the steepest streets I have ever walked. Getting our traveling legs back!

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Tomorrow I think we will find the Teleferriqo (cable car) and maybe ride the trolebus around for awhile :)

Posted by Pelham Family 12:42 Archived in Ecuador Comments (3)

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