Tag Archives: quito

Ecuador Part 4: Getting Lost on the Avenue of Volcanoes

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Kinda hard to miss

Kinda hard to miss

How do you get lost when a volcano is your navigating landmark?  Apparently, it is not as difficult as one would think.

We are big believers in seeing a country by driving a car on your own (or taking a train).  There are so many things missed when flying over, or being escorted by a tour.  We also bow down at the alter of the GPS (Costa Rica: No Signs Allowed).  However, due to my limited Spanish (yes, the GPS was all in Espanol!), the sparce map programming for Ecuador, or just (I fear) my mental capacities – the GPS rented from the car rental company in Cuenca, Ecuador was not as much help to us as expected.

Truth be told, we saw much more of the country than originally planned (much, much more)on our drive along Avenue of the Volcanoes from Cuenca to Banos to Quito.  Lucky for us, there were only a few roads that take you through those mountains (and we found them all), or we would probably still be searching for a way out…

We did manage to locate the Ingaperca Inca Ruins between Cuenca and Banos:

Ingaperca Inca Ruins

And see some colorful things along the way:

No billboards needed when there is the side of a house to paint.

Who needs billboards when there is the side of a house to paint.

We kept driving when it was raining:

I think we do this way...

I think we go this way…

And took random breaks when it wasn’t.

Anyone for a game of hoops?

Anyone for a game of hoops?

Sometimes we drove by the view,

No shortage of cows in Ecuador.

No shortage of cows in Ecuador.

And sometimes, we got out of the car to take in the view:

We will get there someday.

I think it is too far to jump.

And sometimes, we just followed the truck in front of us:

Goin' my way?

Goin’ my way?

Driving though the rural and mountainous parts of Ecuador, we came away with two impressions: Ecuador is a vastly beautiful country, and those volcanoes may be big, but they do not a navigational tool make.

In the end, we made it to all of our planned destinations…and a few unplanned ones as well.

All in a days travel…

The best days that is.

For other articles on Ecuador:

Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

Ecuador Part 2:  Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

Ecuador Part 3:  Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

For More Sweet Spot Travels: GO HERE

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Ecuador Part 1: Forrest Gump Goes to Quito

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Quito, Ecuador

“Y’all ever been ta Queeetto b’foa?” …

Were the first words we heard from fellow passenger on our flight to Quito, Ecuador -(picture Forrest Gump meets Yosemite Sam).  Unfortunately, having to answer “No” to this question opened us up to a complete narrative including statements such as “Lordy, Lordy it’s high up in there” (the high altitude?).  Actually, only my husband was treated to the full show (’cause he is too polite), as Teen1, Teen2 and I shrunk into the sanctuary of our devices, picking up only enough one liners from our new friend to be annoying later on.

Starting out the trip under such auspicious beginnings could only mean one thing…of course, a completely memorable travel experience.

Initially the main goal in going to Ecuador was to, duh,  stand on the equator(and to go anywhere warm).  However, in the very first moments in Quito, we fell in love with the country, its people, its mountains, its cities, and its cheap gas!

QUITO – THE CITY

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

QUITO – THE PLAZAS

Plaza Grande

Plaza Grande

Quito, Ecuador

Plaza San Francisco

Plaza Santo Domingo

Plaza Santo Domingo

Plaza 24 de Mayo

Plaza 24 de Mayo

PEOPLE WATCHING IN QUITO

We sat on the convent steps and rested with this colorful Ecuadorian woman.

We sat on the convent steps and rested with this colorful Ecuadorian woman as she sold her fruit. I don’t think we helped her sales.

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

QUITO – THE REAL EQUATOR

Apparently, the original monument, Mitad del Mundo (“middle of the earth”), is not actually in the middle of the earth, but rather 600 feet away from 00 coordinates – who knew? The French scientists, who calculated the original coordinates, did a pretty good job in the 1700’s given the tools of the time.  But like indoor plumbing and shows with zombies, GPS is better.

We tried all the “tricks” at the equator – walking the line with eyes closed (harder than you think) to feel a magnetic pull between hemispheres, balancing the egg on a nail, which is supposed to be easier at 00 (only Teen2 felt the magic), and watching a demonstration of water swirling different directions in the Northern and Southern hemisphere.  Truth or trick?  I have no idea, but we had fun trying to figure it out!

The Equator Water Myth:

Good thing they did not ask me to say the alphabet backwards, too!

Good thing they did not ask me to say the alphabet backwards, too!

The symbol of the city – Virges del Panecillo

Virges del Panecillo

She overlooks the city from atop her hill and can be seen from almost anywhere in Quito.

We were able to ditch Forrest Gump at the airport before he made good on his offer to show us around. But he was right about one thing… Lordy, Lordy, it is high up in there!

For more on Ecuador:

Ecuador Part 2:  Getting Mobbed and Spit On in Cuenca

Ecuador Part 3:  Throwing My Kids Off a Bridge in Banos

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!