A Travellerspoint blog

Home sweet home

semi-overcast -3 °C

After a long day of travel that started at 4am Quito time, so 2am Alberta time we made it home safe and sound. Vaughn, Tammy and Tyson arrived home safe and sound about an hour after we did.

Thanks again for following along and I hope you enjoyed the blog. I do intend to keep blogging about our future travels, so please feel free to subscribe and keep following along.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


These are my 2 favorite pictures from the trip. The turtle head picture was taken by Vaughn and the sea lion picture was taken by myself


“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

Posted by MRCL72 07:07 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

Our last day

sunny 25 °C

We slept in and had a lazy morning today, this was our last day in Ecuador. We decided to wander over to El Ejido park as there is a market place in the park on Saturdays. It turned out to be sunny warm perfect weather for our last day.

On our way over to the park we walked past this colorful little street.


Once at the park the vendors were all setup, along with many artist's selling artwork. Vendors selling food and many families out enjoying the morning. While not anywhere near as busy as Otovalo, similar handicrafts and weaving were available for purchase and haggling was the way to go.


After lunch at La Union bakery, which I would suggest you visit during your time in Quito, we headed back to the condo to start packing and getting ready to head home.

This was one of the best trips that Miguel and I have taken, only made better by the presence of our friends Vaughn, Tammy and their kids. Thank you for making this an unforgettable experience. I don't usually look back at pictures of our vacations but this is one that I will never get tired of looking at the photo's. I hope that everyone has enjoyed the pictures and stories that I have shared with you, I will be putting up a couple more entries for you to read.

Posted by MRCL72 06:52 Archived in Ecuador Comments (1)

Old Town Police Tour

sunny 25 °C

This morning we headed back to Old Town for our tour with the Police. Our tour guide spoke very good english and did a great job explaining the tour. Unfortunately we were asked not to take pictures inside the museum's and churches that we visited, so I only have a few photo's to show you.

Our first stop was the square outside the Presidential Palace. Where she explained the significance of the statue in the middle of the square. It represents Ecuador's strength, courage, independence and freedom. It was made in Italy and shipped to Quito.


Our next stop on the tour was the Church of Gold, almost the entire interior of the church is covered in gold leaf. They are currently doing a small restoration project on the church to get rid of some water damage and mould. If you Google Church of Gold Quito you will be able to find a few pictures of the inside.

This is the outside and doors of the church.


The street we were on is called the street of 7 crosses, meaning essentially there are 7 churches on the street and each has a large stone cross outside it.


This picture is a historic building that was on our tour route but I thought it show off some of the architecture of Quito very well.


Next we headed to the San Francisco museum which is part of the San Francisco Church and square.


Our next stop was the city museum, which used to be a hospital. There was some of the old pharmacy bottles on display.


The city museum is has been beautifully created. On the tour we went through some of the old surgery rooms and hospital areas. The rest of the museum has been dedicated to showcasing Ecuadorian life. While going through the museum we were shown 2 beautifully created hard wood floors depicting the city of Quito. It was hard to believe that we were allowed to walk on them. Each piece of wood was cut polished and place by the artisan's hands. My explanation isn't doing it justice.

We ended our tour in the La Ronda district which used to not be safe for tourists. But in recent time has been cleaned up and police presence increased and now is a beautiful area to stroll through. Lots of restaurants and little shops to peek in.


We stopped in a little pub for lunch and Vaughn tried to order roasted Cuy (guinea pig), but they had not yet got the large forno oven going for the day.

After lunch we wandered around La Ronda and found a little bakery and chocolate shop. The owner was grinding the cacao beans by hand, which she did 30 times in order to make her 100% cacao for her chocolates. She would then reduce the 100% down to 85%, 75%, 65% for the chocolates that were being made that day. She added spices, passion fruit, coffee and other ingredients to make her wonderful chocolates.


We had a little treat and ended our day in old town.

Posted by MRCL72 06:09 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)


rain 5 °C

Today we headed off into the Andean highlands to the town of Papallacta which sits at 3300m or 10826ft above sea level. The mountain pass reached a height of 4200m or 13780ft above sea level. According to the guide books we were either in for scorching sun or cloud and rain. Unfortunately we got cloud and rain.

Our driver today is a bird guide and horticulturalist so he was able to point out many different birds and plants on our way to Papallacta. He also told us to keep our eyes out for the Andean Condor and Spotted Bears that live up in the highlands. But we didn't get to see either.

On our way he did point out a tree called a Paper Tree, which take 1000's of years to grow and are protected here in Ecuador. Chopping one down will land you in jail.



Most of our drive was shrouded in cloud, but the landscape was still very beautiful.

One of the main reason's people come to Papallacta is the hot springs. There is a resort here that you can visit and go into the hot pools for $17 per person or you can go into the public pools for $7.50. Which have change rooms, showers and bathrooms. There is also a little restaurant and snack bar incase your hungry after your drive from Quito.


We had a great soak, some pools are warmer than other and of course they have a cold plunge pool. Vaughn and Tyson were brave enough to jump in the cold pool, Miguel and I stayed in the hot ones. If you are in Quito and plan to visit Papallacta, make it a weekday trip. Weekends are very busy a the hot springs.

Around the hot springs they have many awesome flowers.


And one of my personal favourites was this tree, which has trumpet flowers.


We had some lunch and our driver took us for a little drive down through the town and to a river to see some birds.


Even though the roads in Ecuador are some of the best in South America, it takes longer to drive than you expect. We had some long day trips, but they were worth it to see the surrounding area.

Posted by MRCL72 05:24 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

Old Town

overcast 20 °C

Today we decided to head back to Old Town Quito, the Metropolitan Police here in Quito give a guided tour around old town. So we hopped in a cab and headed off for the visitor information centre, which we tried calling but never got any answer. Only to find out that there was no tours on Wednesday, so we booked one for Thursday instead.

We decided to head over to the Presidential Palace for the free tour, after surrendering our ID and going through what can only be described as airport security we were inside. The 45 minute tour takes you through the cabinet room, the dining room and ball room. On display are some of the many gifts that the current president has received from other government officials. Including a large crystal bowl given by Hillary Clinton.


In the staircase of the palace their is a mural which represents the colonization of Ecuador. Its was created by Ecuador's most famous artist Oswaldo Guayasamin.


We also got to witness the changing of the ceremonial guard. Which on the weekends and special holidays is a more elaborate affair.


After another cheap and very yummy lunch we headed to the Basilica for a look around. We saw the outside of the Basilica on our first day in Quito, today we headed inside for a look around. Instead of gargoyles on the outside for the Basilica, the birds of Ecuador are represent in stone as are turtles and a few other Ecuadorean animals.


Inside the Basilica there are numerous stained glass windows, a closer look revealed that most of the stained glass is representations of flowers.


The inside of the Basilica is massive and they do hold mass inside.


We climbed up the clock towers, which gave us a great view of surrounding south Quito.


Vaughn and Tyson climbed up the spire for a view of north Quito. Tammy and I decided not to brave the steel ladder like stairs, with chicken wire on the front of each step to keep your feet from slipping through. Needless to say, if this was in North America we wouldn't have been climbing it.


Afterwards we wandered around a little bit and found ourselves on Galapagos Street.


We hopped in a cab and headed for home. Miguel had been feeling ill today so we wanted to go check on him. He was doing better by the time we got home.

Posted by MRCL72 04:45 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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