Foot tired.

It is our last day in Quito – we knew it would come! Tomorrow morning we fly out to the Galapagos and a whole other adventure begins.

We took off to the new town for some further exploring as we hadn’t spent much time there yet. The atmosphere is different than the old town and there is quite the contrast! People with more leisure time, pricier stores and more sophisticated restaurants were a few of the clues. We walked to Parque Carolina, a beautiful, spacious park in the city. There were lots of people enjoying the sunny Saturday – holidays have begun and there has definitely been an influx of people!

Parque Carolina - Quiet in the early morning

Parque Carolina – Quiet in the early morning

Within the park is a botanical garden that you can visit for a small fee. The setting was amazing and they had different sections for each of the different climates found in Ecuador. They also had two huge greenhouses devoted to orchids, as well as one devoted to carnivorous plants. There was everything from flowering trees to cacti to roses. I will be sure to include some more photos at the bottom for those of you who are interested in seeing a little more!

Touring the Gardens

Touring the Gardens

The same park is also home to a “Vivarium” housing 44 different species of reptiles and amphibians. We got a little presentation after which we were allowed to pet a boa, indigenous to the Amazon, and then explore. They had venomous and non-venomous snakes, frogs, turtles and crocodiles. It was pretty neat to see so many species under one roof!

After our morning of park, gardens and animals we decided to visit la Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal as we had steered clear of any shops and markets thus far. We didn’t last too long, but wandered up and down a few rows of stalls. It was fun to see so many shops in one place!

Now we’re tired in the best possible way. Our time in and around Quito has been fantastic and we are so looking forward to seeing what else this amazing country has to offer!

Aside of the day: We had breakfast with a fellow who works at our hotel this morning. One if his aunts married a Canadian Texaco engineer and they live in Saskatoon. He lived on Saskatoon for a month when he was little to improve his English, but this is the only part of Canada he has ever been to. As Paddy said: “Imagine if the only perspective you had of Canada was Saskatoon…”

More photos!

Walking around the park and gardens, so many flowering trees and birds!
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The rose garden.
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Cacti and other interesting plants.
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Carnivores!
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So many orchids!
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Quito – the world’s highest capital!

WE LOVE QUITO!! This city is seriously amazing. It is beautiful, the people are friendly, patient and helpful (slowing down their Spanish, gesturing to help us understand and greeting us at every turn) and the climate is to die for. This city is nearly on the equator somewhere around 10 000 feet, meaning that it is essentially spring year-round with daily temperatures hovering around 18-20, dipping to around 10 at night. I can’t think of a better way to transition from the cold Canadian winter to the balmy weather that is sure to await us in the next couple of weeks. The temperature is perfect for wandering the streets and exploring, which is exactly what we have been doing….

Day 1 – Wandering the city

View from Casa Gardenia

View from Casa Gardenia


The bed and breakfast we are at in Quito’s old town is absolutely delightful! The staff at Casa Gardenia are amazing, the room comfortable and we are a short walk from so many things.

We left in the morning with a map and without much of a plan. The number of cathedrals is astounding and the architecture is an interesting mixture of old and new with everything perched along narrow, hilly streets surrounded by mountains. It is truly breathtaking.
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The altitude didn’t slow us down much and after exploring some of the plazas we decided to head up to the Virgen de El Panecillo, perched up between the old town and the new. It was worth it!

Walk up the hill towards El Panecillo

Walk up the hill towards El Panecillo


There she is!

There she is!


Paddy at the top!

Paddy at the top!

In the afternoon we visited the Basilica del Voto Nacional. You can actually climb all in and around it, up the belfry and various towers… A slightly harrowing experience at times, but overall super cool!

Here you can see the towers of the Basilica in the distance

Here you can see the towers of the Basilica in the distance

Day 2 – We decided to explore some museums….

The morning consisted of a trip to the Casa de la Cultura to the Museo del Banco Central which housed a seriously impressive collection of ceramic and gold artefacts as well as various works of art. It was very neat to learns. Little more about the indigenous peoples of Ecuador.

A tiny portion of the collection

A tiny portion of the collection

There was a school trip there at the same time as us and we were frequently greeted by a cheerful chorus of “hello!”

We also explored the Museo de la Ciudad, situated in an old hospital. This museum showcased a lot of Ecuadorian history as well as modern art and an exhibit surrounding the hospital that was there. Quite an eclectic mix that made for a stellar visit!