Quito is so tranquilo. My taxi driver said that only 2 million people live here. It’s very easy to walk around, it’s cheap, and it’s so pretty. I have my own room in a very cool hotel, overlooking a square right in the historic centre for $8 per night. Bargain.
Around every corner is another beautiful church, or square, or theatre. But unlike the historic centre of Cartagena in Colombia, it seems that people live here, not just tourists, souvenir shops and ticket sellers.
I’m not sure what any of these buildings are called, or what they are.
I don’t usually research much before I arrive, I just walk to where ever looks nice.
I just met a guide in the restaurant I had dinner in, and he invited me to his free walking tour tomorrow at 10am. I told him maybe, but standing with a group of tourists having someone tell me the history of every building just isn’t interesting for me.
In the Amazon, we went to a family’s home to be shown how they live. Two minutes later I found myself wandering off to go stroke the dogs and look at the chickens. I just couldn’t stay focussed on…actually I don’t even know what he was explaining to begin with, I was busy taking photos of the palm leaf roof.
I know I’d be the same on a city tour. I’d want to pop down that cool looking street, or run into that bakery for a cake in the window, or spend twenty minutes taking pictures of the flowers. Or just sit and have a cappuccino for $2.50 in a lovely cafe, for more than I had just paid for a two course lunch with a drink ($2.25).
Apparently you need plenty of breaks (and carrot cake) when walking at altitude. I do read a lot of blogs online, to find out where to take the buses, and what times they go. One mentioned the high altitude in Quito. It’s at 2820 metres (the highest capital in the world) which can make you out of breath and tired when walking, if you haven’t adjusted yet.
There were a lot of stairs to this statue called El Panecillo. I finally believed the whole high altitude thing, when I found I needed a break half way up, not because my legs ached, but because I was breathing like I’d just sprinted the 100 metres.
Now, how can I get to that big pointy looking church?!