We've arrived in Ecuador!
Early morning wake-up calls today! We are in the queue in the departures terminal at Heathrow bang on time, and KLM get us checked-in promptly (with one exception, but more of that later!). We are due to take-off from Heathrow at 6.30am and boarding goes as planned. Then we spot the captain chatting with some of the crew at the front of the aircraft. Dawn joins in the chat and mentions that we have a relatively tight connection at Amsterdam and suggest the captain gets on with it. Duly encouraged, the captain runs into the cockpit!
However, within a few minutes the captain re-appears and at around the same time most of our luggage is being unloaded from the side of the aircraft! Apparently 6 people haven't boarded and they need to unload their luggage, so the baggage handlers are hard at work. The job is completed pretty quickly and we take off about half an hour late, but the captain makes up time and we land at Amsterdam pretty much on time.
A quick dash between terminals at Schiphol and we are boarding our aircraft for the flight down to Ecuador. KLM name their aircraft and, conveniently, our plane is called Galapagos Islands. Slightly less conveniently, KLM have over-sold their business class! Richard and Dawn naturally ensure all Furlongs Travel guests are properly seated!
The flight to Quito is a long one, but by the time you watch a film or two, listen to some music, have a read and enjoy a couple meals, it doesn't seem too bad. To be honest, if you wish to experience Ecuador and Galapagos, you've got no choice so it is well worth the effort in the end!
On arrival at Quito Airport, there are no immigration queues and we proceed through formalities promptly. Richard and Dawn are asked by the immigration staff whether it is their first time visiting Ecuador, and we have to admit we've been lucky enough to visit a few times before. The staff then find it quite difficult to locate a page in our passports without an Ecuadorian stamp!
Our two local guides, Tomas and Enrique are waiting to meet us, and we are soon aboard our two buses and heading for the city centre. We are lucky with traffic and on arrival at the Patio Andaluz Hotel, the friendly staff are ready with welcome drinks and room keys! After settling in we enjoy dinner in the hotel's beautiful courtyard restaurant, and then to bed for a well-earned sleep!
photo © JoaoCachapa