Today was checking out of my fancy hotel and checking into the hotel in the old town and joining the group I’m travelling with for my Galapagos and Peruvian adventures.
It was also facing the challenge of getting my washing dried – which was achieved through the use of the iron and hair dryer!
My next hotel isn’t luxurious like the Hilton was, but it’s lovely – and has a much more Equadorian feel to it. I also met my roomie for my travels – a lovely lady of a similar age from Australia.
After our welcome briefing, we went on a walking tour of Ecuador with our guide, David. We visited the Basilica, which was built when the Spanish conquered the Incas. We learned more about the history of the battles with the Conquistadors and then in the 19th Century, when Ecuador gained independence from Spain.
In fact, today – 10th August marked one of their ‘Independence Days’ when they first gained independence. The Spanish later took it back so there is a second Independence Day on 24th May when the Ecuadorians finally succeeded in gaining their freedom. So today, there have been lots of celebrations and street parties – particularly in the plazas.
Other things I’ve learned about Ecuador. Because it’s on the same fault line that runs down the West Coast of Canada and the US, and because of the volcanoes, Ecuador gets around 3-4 earthquakes per month. The Virgin of El Panecillo, also known as the Virgin of Quito from the sculpture of the same name, is a monument located on the top of the hill of El Panecillo, a loaf-shaped hill in the heart of the city and serves as a backdrop to the historic centre of Quito. The Virgin is said to protect Quito from the earthquakes.
Because of the biodiversity of the four regions of Ecuador – the Galapagos Islands, the Coastal Region, the Amazon Rainforest and the Highlands, Ecuador produces many varieties of foods and flowers. It produces 95% of its food and only imports 5%. It is also the biggest exporter of roses and bananas are also a major export.
As part of the tour, we visited a market where they made traditional ice-cream – you could see them making the ice-cream by hand using traditional methods. And we had a tasting session of the different flavours made from the local fruits. Delicious!
After our walking tour, we visited a restaurant and sampled some typical Ecuadorian dishes, which were so tasty.
Then it was back to the hotel to pack for our journey to the Galapagos Islands tomorrow.