Welcome to Ecuador
An early start for all.
We report to Terminal Five Heathrow around 5am in readiness to check-in for our British Airways flight to Madrid. The flight is uneventful but when we land at Madrid there is no aircraft stand available so we disembark via steps into buses for a short drive to the terminal building. This results in an unexpected security check and means showing boarding cards for our onward flight. Unfortunately three guests were not given the applicable boarding card in London so they are officially now stranded! That won't do. Richard heads off to talk with someone important and once the predicament is explained we are given directions to follow a "back route" to the departure gates. Basically turn left, along the staff corridor, up the lift and head for the Iberia desk. It all sounded rather 007 but it worked. By the way, the main terminal building at Madrid Airport is being remodelled inside. At least that is the phrase they use. Absolute choas is the phrase we use! We survived and headed for our gate to board the Iberia non-stop flight to Quito.
We took off late but arrived early. We landed at the brand new Quito Airport which is located some 90 minutes drive from the colonial city centre, After landing we taxi towards the terminal building but them come to a stop. Sadly there is no space for our aircraft. Is this becoming a theme for the day? We sat for 10 minutes and were then able to move on and disembark. We proceed through immigration and reclaim luggage. After this we are meant to place main suitcases and hand luggage through an arrivals scanner before exiting to the Arrivals Hall. However Richard has a word with the security superviser and explains many of our guests are "old and tired" and could we go straight through without the hassle of the scanner? The negotiation proved successful.
Our local guides Santiago and Tomas are waiting to greet us and in no time at all we on the way in our private buses. The new road from the airport to the city isn't quite finished and can at times be congested but we make good progress and arrive at our hotel on schedule. The Patio Andaluz Hotel is a great way to end a long day. It is an elegant boutique hotel located in a colonial style house originally built at the end of the 16th century. The hotel staff are lovely and in no time at all we are settling in to our rooms. A tasty buffet dinner is served and guests retire for a well earned rest.