A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Tu hables Espanol? My Brain Hurts.

Okay - I will admit that Spanish is much easier than I thought it would be. But you must... speak.......very.........slowly. The blank stare I display when a local has spoken to me is slowly being replaced with basic understanding. More of the bits and pieces understanding, but it is slowly sinking in.

After 4 hours of having my brain filled with Espanol, we headed into Old Town to check out the more historic buildings and local scenery. A quick side trip into the Museo del Banco Central, which houses the country´s largest collection of Ecuadorian art from pre-Hispanic to contemporary art. Then we headed into the heart of Old Town.

Old Town has some of the narrowest streets! I don´t think that many of them are two-way, there´s barely room for a bus to get down these them. The old buildings are lovely but it is funny to see a KFC or ¨Texas Chicken¨housed in these old colonial buildings.

Posted by joannacez 18:59 Archived in Ecuador Tagged educational Comments (0)

Bats in the Belfry

Old Town, Quito

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We spent today wandering through Old Town in Quito. Oddly, it seems that every other store is either a party store selling pinatas, or is a shoe store. It´s as if Carmen Miranda and Imelda Marcos collaborated to choose which stores to put where. Weird.

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There are many interesting statues throughout the Old Town, commemorating people and events long past.

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There are also several plazas and many colonial buildings, of course.
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La Basílica del Voto Nacional

We spent a lot of time exploring the Basilica in the midst of town. We were able to climb up to the bell tower and up into the clock towers. The stairs and ladders are pretty steep and precarious. At one point you have to walk across some pretty rickety looking (and feeling) planks to access one set of ladders. The planks take you through the "attic" of one part of the Basilica. I have to admit that, while I wasn´t exactly afraid of the heights, I did get a little "WHOAH" moment when I looked down and realized how high up we were.

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Posted by jtlande 17:56 Archived in Ecuador Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

On to Otavalo

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Today was our last day of Spanish class in Quito. Neither of us was very enthusiastic about another day of learning new vocabulary, adjectives and verbs (yeah, weak, we know), but when we finished at noon we were happy we took the time to start learning the lingo.

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After we said our goodbyes to the kind folks at Apu Inty, we caught a taxi to Old Town and dropped our big backpacks at Hotel San Francisco de Quito, where we´re gonna stay when we get back to Quito tonight. With our small backpacks in tow, took the Trole to go to the bus station, bought our bus tickets, and soon were on our way to Otavalo.

The bus ride to Otavalo was pretty uneventful...it took about 3 hours and we endured the cries of "Otavalo, Otavalo, Otavalo!" every time we stopped to pick up new passengers. Of course, we couldn´t take a bus ride without macho gun-toting movie star on the TV. This time instead of Dolph Lundgren we watched The Governator (Arnie, duh) and Alissa Milano in the movie ´Commando´. My money´s on us seeing ´Rambo´ on the next bus ride!

We arrived in town, checked into our hotel, Hostal Dona Esther, grabbed some delicious seafood in town, and turned in early for the night.

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Posted by jtlande 11:44 Archived in Ecuador Tagged bus Comments (0)

To Market, To Market / Raptors

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=> Got up early and walked to the Animal Market in Otavalo. Muddy, smelly, chaotic and interesting.

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=> Spent a few hours wandering about the Crafts Market. Bargained with a few vendors, bought some gifts for folks back home, and I bought myself a new hat.

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=> Spotted the love of my life and hunted her down. She rebuffed my advances.

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=> Took a cab north to Laguna San Pablo. Walked around the lake for a few minutes then decided to take the small dirt roads back to Otavalo.

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=> Changed plans when we saw signs for the Parque Condor. Missed the road and ended up climbing 400m up the side of a VERY steep and muddy hill. At the park, saw a bunch of impressive birds, including an Andean Condor, several different hawks, eagles, and owls.

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=> Walked back down to the Panamerican Highway by the lake and flagged down a bus to Quito.

=> Checked into Hotel San Francisco de Quito. Made them move us to a nicer room that wasn´t across from the loud sauna heater.

=> Went to New Town to grab some scrumptious Argentinian steak and ribs at Los Trancos.

Here are some photos of Quito that we took from the roof deck at the hotel.

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...tomorrow we´re off to the town of Banos, about 4 hrs away...

Posted by jtlande 23:06 Archived in Ecuador Tagged tourist_sites Comments (1)

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