After breakfast at our place in Alausi, we left for Quito with Ian, stopping at a market along the way. Shortly into our drive Ian remembered that between 4-7pm on Fridays Quito doesn’t allow cars with the license plates ending in 1 into town (don’t ask why). His license ended in 1 and we had too book it to Quito without making any of the stops we planned along the way.
We made it to Quito in time and took a taxi to our accommodations at the Real Audencia Hotel in the Old Town. We dropped our stuff in the room, noticed there was a non-stop Spanish music station playing on the loudspeaker of our room, and then met our friends at the Hotel De San Francisco. We all went to dinner in the Inglesia De San Francisco Plaza. We left dinner and said our goodbyes.
The next day in Quito, I went out early to get money and a new phone. At the ATM there were 3 guards (One with a shotgun, and 2 with automatic rifles). Chances are no one was going to rob me walking away from that ATM. I bought a cell phone and then Christina and I explored the old town. We first went to a museum with pre-colonial artifacts dating back to 5,000 B.C. It was a really interesting exhibit. The Incans believed heavily in spirits, shamans, and parallel worlds. From what we saw at the museum, it looks like the previous communities could be pretty barbaric at times, cutting off enemies heads to sacrifice for the gods and believing blood was a sacrificial element (I kept thinking of the movie Apocalypto).
We walked the old streets of Quito and had almuerzo (lunch) at an amazing little hole in the wall in Santo Domingo Square. We hiked up to the Barsilla Inglesia (one of the most spectacular Catholic churches I have ever seen). Then we went to a museum/ church across from our hotel that had some pretty graphic pictures, and statues of Christ dating back to 1590 AD. We sat in town as sunset watched people and listened to the church bells.
At the Basillia Church we met some girls that just got back from a place in the Cloud Forest called Mindo. They said it was incredible with white water rapids, zip line canopies, and tons of good hiking and wildlife. We decided to take the bus the next day.
Quito was an amazing city. The Spanish colonial architecture is mind blowing and everywhere (probably why it is a Unesco World Heritage Site). We both fell in love with the city and it will not be hard not to return in the future.