Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quito, Ecuador - Vol. I

My hostal in Quito - El Cafecito

This past Friday, I returned after an eight day vacation to Ecuador. I spent half the time in Quito and half in Cuenca, both cities in the Andes Mountains. Quito is at about 9200' with Cuenca at about 8400'. I chose Ecuador for a few reasons: scenic beauty; to immerse myself in the Spanish language, which I'm teaching myself; and its reputation as an inexpensive destination. Well, it wasn't as inexpensive as expected, but at least the hostals were cheap.

My flight from Houston to Quito, which was supposed to arrive at about 9:30pm, was diverted to Panama City, due to an accident at the Quito airport. A military plane lost its nose gear on landing. So, I didn't get to El Cafecito until 2 a.m. I slept until late morning and then ventured out. On Saturday, I concentrated on two neighborhoods - City Center and La Mariscal, where El Cafecito was located.

 El Cafecito -

City Center and La Mariscal -

Quito, Ecuador - Vol. II

Entering El Parque Botanico

Sunday morning, I decided to take a walk to the botanical park to see what was going on. This was THE place to be on a Sunday morning. People were out running, walking, playing soccer, basketball, etc. A brick walkway went around the perimeter of the park. Just inside the walkway was a paved walking/running/biking path that meandered throughout. The skies were blue and paths were wet after a late night deluge.

In the afternoon, after a well-deserved nap, I set out on foot to the west side of the city to another park and an archeological site. This area was in the foothills of the nearby volcanic peak, so I got quite a workout.

West Side -

Random Nonsense -

An old school Ford Ranger XLT

When barbed wire just won't do

Sweet Jesus

Cuenca, Ecuador - Vol. I

El Cafecito - My digs in Cuenca

The second half of my trip took place in Cuenca, which is the 3rd largest city in Ecuador and in the southern part of the country. For $15/night, I got a private room at a hostal called El Cafecito. You entered through a street-side door, walked through a passage and into a large, glass-covered atrium. In the rear was a small garden. It's a great place to stay.

El Cafecito -

After getting situated in my room, I took off to the central plaza to get a lay of the land and my bearings. Cuenca is a typical, European colonial city, with narrow streets, plazas, statues, and churches. 

City Center - 

Random Nonsense -