On Saturday I joined a walking tour through the historic center of Quito. It took us along several squares, churches, a very local food market and lots of other interesting places. Our guide also enlightened us with some of Ecuadors history.
So far I have not been to impressed with Latin American cities, but I have to say that Quito is an exception. The historic center is filled with colonial buildings and it’s all well preserved. It’s pleasant to just wonder around here. A very cool feature of Quito is that it is surrounded by many volcanoes. And the city itself is located at 2800 meters above sea level. Making it the highest capital city in the world. No, La Paz is not the capital of Bolivia…
After my tour I went back to the food market to try some local food. During the tour our guide explained that in Ecuador they don’t waste any part of the animals they slaughter. Meaning that you can find just about any body part on your plate. So I took my time to find a dish that didn’t have any awkward looking parts on it. The food was ok, but not really my thing. The juice was excellent though. From there I continued to explore the city and make plans for the days to come.
The next day I got up early. Enjoined the excellent breakfast at my hostel again. Got some supplies and left for the Pichincha volcano. It’s right besides the city and is 4700 meters high. I first got a cab to take me to the cable cart. That took me up to 4000 meters in 18 minutes. The view was really cool! Once there, I started the hike.
The first hour went pretty smooth and I covered 4 km. Which is quite a lot considering I’d been climbing just about the whole hour. After exactly an hour I arrived at a cave with a spectacular view. I decided to have a 10 minute break to eat and drink.
After the break I couldn’t get back into the rhythm. Breathing became more difficult and my legs felt heavy. Perhaps I hadn’t spend enough time at altitude yet. Or the week of being ill had weakened my body. And the 4 hour bike ride on Thursday probably didn’t help either. Anyway, it was one more kilometer to the top and it took me 45 minutes.
The last part required some hands and feet climbing. It was pretty cold and windy up there as well. Reaching the top was well worth it. It always gives a great feeling of satisfaction and in this case, awesome views as well. I stayed there for about ten minutes. I was getting cold and some threatening clouds came in.
The way down went very smooth. The clouds cleared and it was nice and sunny. After a while I found a nice spot with a great view and I decided to chill there for a while. I even took a little nap. At some 4300 meters it was my highest nap ever. After about an hour I got back on my feet. A little further down I found another cool spot and sat down again. No nap this time.
Without the napping and chilling time on the way down, it took me 3,5 hours to go up and down. Which was pretty good considering that I was told it would take me 5 hours. Or maybe they expected me to take a nap somewhere😉
Back at the hostel I quickly changed and went for lunch. Once I’d finished my plate my body was demanding me to take another nap. So I did. Tonight I went out for dinner and made plans for the coming days.