Ecuador

Quito

Did you know the word Ecuador means equator?!

Quito, Ecuador – we spent one week here when we first arrived to Ecuador and then returned for a few more weeks after our time in Loja.

Quito is located a few hours south of the equator at 2800 meters (9350 feet) above sea level.  That’s really high up.  I got a little altitude sickness, which is common, first day we arrived.  Nothing major, just a little headache, and then adjusted fine.  Quito has a population of  over 2.5 million.   The old city has been named a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. There are lots of beautiful main plazas, squares, balconies, red tiled roofs, colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and mountains in the view from most directions. The weather is like spring (in New England) all year round.

We were able to practice our Spanish speaking.  David is a star with this!  One of Ecuador’s most famous exports is chocolate!  Of course we had to try some.  But, it doesn’t travel well in our backpacks so we won’t be arriving home with any.  Unfortunately, there’s big city pollution, mostly from the diesel city buses that are billowing black smoke every time they stop and start, which is frequently.

We rode the Teleferico. This is the world’s second-highest cable car. In about a 10 minute ride, it brings you from downtown Quito at 9350 feet up to 4,000 meters (12,000 feet). From there we hiked higher, up Pichincha Volcano. In 1999, it covered the city in two inches of ash.

We visited La Vírgen del Panecillo. It’s a large statue made of aluminum of a ‘winged’ Virgin Mary on a hill overlooking the city.

We stayed in an apartment right across from Parque La Carolina and spent lots of time there. It is one of Quito’s most frequented parks. On weekends, thousands of locals go to have picnics, play sports, enjoy the skate park, BMX course, pedal boats, and to just relax on the grass in the shade of the tress.  We enjoyed yoga on the grass numerous times!

We took Vegan traditional Ecuadorian cooking lessons.  We were so fortunate to find this as there is not a lot of vegetarian and vegan food.  We went 2 times and learned 4 soups.  So fun to learn how to use green plantains!

We hiked in the Metropolitan Park, a huge park in the city with tons of hiking trails.  It’s 580 hectares (1433 acres)!  It’s said to be the main lungs of Quito.  It also has a piece of the Inca trail.

Ecuador uses the US dollar as their currency.  That was not planned but an interesting experience as it’s our last country before we head back to the USA.  What an enjoyable couple months that allowed me to deepen my rest and sense of self care by actually slowing down even more….if that seems possible, connect more with nature, and start to process our anticipated transition back home.