It looks like another sunny morning today. After breakfast we meet in the hotel reception ready to join our two mini-buses. Parking buses in the centre of Quito’s colonial city is challenging to say the least. The roads are narrow and the local traffic wardens are fierce! Dawn’s bus manages to get on the hotel parking spot but Richard’s is moved on! Fortunately by the time we are ready to start, both buses are lurking outside without a traffic warden in sight! Our guides Fernando and Santiago greet us, and we set off for La Mitad del Mundo. We’re doing the touristy thing today, and visiting the equator. By leaving at 8.30am we miss most of the busy traffic heading out of town and we’re soon on the highway north. The weather is indeed wonderful, and we’re enjoying great views of Quito city, and it’s nearby mountains and valleys.
Before we visit the equator monument we stop at Pululahua Volcano. We’re able to park near the rim of the caldera and the views are tremendous. The volcano last erupted over 1000 years ago and the floor of the caldera is now occupied by small farms growing a variety of crops. Far below us we can just make out some farmers ploughing by ox.
Our next stop is the equator monument. The monument itself holds an interesting ethnographical museum and the surrounding buildings represent an old colonial town. There are souvenirs on offer of course, and some nice cafes and bars too. Some of the Furlongs team are noticed enjoying empanadas and a beer, but we can’t possible say who.
On the way back to Quito a number of guests express a wish to take a cable car ride up to a 14,000 feet high viewpoint. We’re able to stop our buses at a taxi point and arrange transport up to the cable car and back to the hotel. We’re expecting 6 people to jump ship here. More than 25 do! The taxi drivers can’t believe their luck! Apparently the views from the top are wonderful. The temperature, of course, is a little chilly. And apparently not all the taxis know the way back to our hotel, but with a bit of encouragement everyone makes it home!