We're off to Ecuador!
Early birds checked out of our Heathrow overnight hotel at 4am! Our private coach took us to Terminal 4, and we headed for the KLM check-in desks. Richard and Dawn had checked it our last night and spoken with the KLM superviser. When we all arrived around 4.30am, there was no queue but Richard noticed the desks were now labelled "Air France". Richard noticed there were desks marked "KLM" around the corner and there was already a long queue there. However both Air France and KLM are in the same group, so we used our powers of negotiation and were able to stay out and we enjoyed a speedy and smooth check-in. A nice start.
By the time our flight was loaded and we got into a flight departure queue we were over 30 minutes late taking off. However we made up time in flight and landed into Amsterdam Airport pretty much on schedule. We landed at "B" gates and were flying onward from "E" gates. On paper it looked as though the gates were next door, however it was quite a long walk and our particular "E" gate was, naturally, the farthest one away! The flight down to Quito was uneventful and the KLM staff looked after us well. We landed in nice weather, the sun shining and a nice temperature.
Our local guides, Fernando and Santiago, met us. Santiago was wearing an Ecuador Football Shirt, and we noticed many other locals in the airport with the same bright yellow shirts. We discover Ecuador are playing an International game versus Uruguay. Fortunately the final score was 2:1 to Ecuador, so everyone seems happy!
We are greeted warmly on arrival at our hotel, the Patio Andaluz Hotel. Perfectly situated in the middle of the colonial city, the Patio Andaluz was converted from an old colonial courtyard house, and it's beautifully done. The staff are friendly and attentive and we all manage to stay up and have a light meal before taking to our beds after a very long day. Tomorrow we begin to explore! Welcome to Ecuador.