Day 54: Quito

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019.

Todays plan:

Quito – Self guided city tour and Miutad del mundo tour

A representative of Colorful Ecuador-Travels will be in the lobby of your hotel at 9:00 hrs. to give you a briefing and your welcome package.

Middle of the world experience
At 14:00 hrs meet at Galeria Ecuador for your 3 hrs Miutad del Mundo tour. Enjoy the ride and watch the scenic views as you travel to the monument site, while your Spanish-English speaking guide gives you interesting background information on the monument and its story. Pass by the Mariscal neighbourhood of northern Quito and then head towards the “Middle of the World” to see the monument, that was built in the XVII century when a French Expedition defined and marked the precise location of the equatorial line. Stand on the line that marks the division between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. At the end, take an optional visit to the Inti Ñan and Ethnographic Museums if you are interested.

Because of the weather forecast I decided to go up with the telerifico and hike a little bit in direction of Pichincha mountain. I called CE travel if their representitive can come at 08:00 am (earlier) and talked to the staff at Blue House if they be able to put the breakfast at 08:00 am on the table. They can manage.

At 08:00 am I am ready, breakfast is not. A girl from CE travel is here, Paula or Maria Jose, she starts to brief me with an Excel sheet. I already got envelopes full of paper with the itinerary. I tell here that spanish only is an issue. She says no worries, they will speak English. I get breakfast and from Paula some maps of the cities I will visit.

At 08:45 am I go with an Uber to the Telerifico. First female driver, she drops me right at the station for less than 5 usd. They open at 09:00 am. There is already a queue of maybe 20 non ecuadorians. For 8 usd I get a ticket, get the second cabin of the slowest cable car ever.

It clears up. In the cable car I have a nice view over Quito.

On the top, there is nothing. Empty houses, one super small coffee shop, everything else is empty or ruins. There is a wooden plate with the tracks.

It is more or less one track, which is marked harder and harder the closer you come to the top. I take a picture and start to walk uphill.

It is an easy and nice walk. No more trees, mountain grass and flowers. Straight up. Cable cars top station says 4.100 meters altitude, watch, GPS calibrated says below 4.000.

First stop mountain swing over 4.000 meters.

Then I walk on. Up to 4.518 m altitude. Weather gets bad, 30 minutes ago it was blue?! Clouds are taking sight, so I turn around to be ready for the ciutad del mundo tour.

Nobody is waiting at the top station of the cable car. It is not a touristic place, only some hikers come opposite me, they all look drained already. I take my position on one of the 6 yellow dots and go down.

In the cable car I block my Uber. How do I say ‘meet me there in 10 minutes?’. Anyway, the guy in his Chinese SUV waits and brings me home.

I walk to the Ciudad del Mundo meeting point. It is close to Blue House. I get a coffee to go. After half an hour a weird red touristic bus comes and picks me up.

Private tour, no other tourist. The guide talks English. He is really tired. He can roll the eyes while talking. As the pupil looks straight up in his brain, the talking speed reaches zero and the rest air leaves the lungs. It starts to hail. The apple watch vibrates, guide is up again and continues his sentence. I am glad that I am not on the mountain anymore. The guide explains school system, real estate prices, miutad del mundo, the district’s we cross. As we arrive at Ciudad del mundo after a 30 min drive, he buys the tickets and we negotiad the pickup time (he is happy that we want to go earlier as suggested) and go to the temple like memorial.

Second time on the Equator. In the tower I queue for the elevator to the top. There is a mirador (viewpoint),

then I take down the stairs through two floors of a comic style “ethnological museum” until in the ground floor there are some educational physical experiments about magnetism. To ensure everybody understands it, every stations is accompanied by a high school girl, who repeats a standard text in Spanish or English, dependent of the skin color. She talks to me in Spanish.

Then I get a coke, an almond magnum and head back.

We drive home. Guide did not get sleep until now. We drive through districts of different wealth and get out where we met. I go to blue house, have a shower and go to plaza foch to get dinner. I choose Azuca Beach. Good food, the restaurant is open air, but has so many gas heaters that it’s like a sauna.

Accomodation: The blue house

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