Ecuador: Day 2 & 3

Back into the blogging swing of things, I plan on posting the rest of my Ecuador entries before the month is out!

Day 2 and 3 of my Ecuador adventure saw us jumping from city to city. Waking up early in Quito, we checked out the colonial section of Old Town, a UNESCO heritage site. We whizzed through Independence Plaza, the Cathedral, Presidential Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace

We would have stayed longer, but the rain clouds were looming and we didn’t want to get caught outside. Our last visit in Quito was at La CompaƱia Church. Pictures were not allowed, which is a shame, because it was stunning. 24 karat plated everything! The church’s interior was something entirely out of a book. It’s such a stark contrast from the poverty outside its doors. I highly recommend any visitor to Quito to make a stop here.

After this, we took a short bus ride out to the other famous sight of Ecuador, Mitad del Mundo , (Middle of the World Monument). It’s everything you would expect from a tourist trap, and yet we still went anyways. It’s silly to not go. After all, where else can you stand with one foot in each hemisphere? Plus, I now have a cool stamp in my passport. (It’s free, too!)   After a late lunch, we made it back to our hotel just outside Otavalo.

On day 3, we woke up earlier to make it to Otavalo market. I was too busy shopping and bargaining in my broken Spanish to take photos. Stall upon stalls of silver jewelry, soft pashmina scarves, alpaca blankets and hundreds of trinkets were on display. We knew that most of our souvenirs were coming from here, so we focused on getting through our list of friends and family. Things were extremely affordable and I wish I bought more.

We lunched in another nearby town situated at the bottom of a volcano. Cotacachi is known for its leather goods, but we were tired from Otavalo and opted for a longer lunch and leisurely stroll around the city. This was the only city where we heard more English than Spanish. American retirees have made this town their own and prices and cuisine here reflected that. I would probably dub this the Florida of Ecuador.

The late afternoon was spent getting to Papallacta. More aware of altitude sickness now, we took it easy and drank lots of water on our way up. The sky cleared enough for us to get a good view of the beautiful Andes mountains and surrounding area. We rested like kings in the thermal hot springs and then slept like babies.