I’m combining two days in one post since these were the day before and of the wedding, and that’s family stuff. We did sneak in a few touristy things, though.
We were staying with the bride’s family in a condo in Quito, and had gotten in late the night before so it wasn’t until the morning of day 9 that we could appreciate the views out the windows.
The building next door was under construction, we could see workers moving through it.
Street level view:
Day 9 had a few false starts, first to see the actual site of the equator, which wasn’t accessible by bus because the road up the mountain was too narrow. Just before the driver came to that conclusion was the scariest moment of the trip, it was a sheer drop out the bus window and the road was bouncy/tippy. It turned out to be too far to walk from there (although we started to try) but at least we were all with our feet on solid ground while the driver got the bus turned around (the physics of how he did it baffle me; I didn’t see it happen but it must have involved a giant picking it up and setting it facing the other way).
Our next destination was Mitad del Mundo, the park located right on where they thought the equator was before GPS pinpointed it more exactly. Alas, the lines to get in were very long and we were all anxious to actually see something before it was time to get dressed up for the rehearsal dinner so we moved on to the next stop.
Pululahua is a dormant volcano whose caldera collapsed into a doughnut shape:
The sides were quite steep, and it was a long way down. Farmers live in the caldera and grow all sorts of crops in the rich soil but is pretty isolated from the rest of Quito because of how nearly inaccessible it is.
There were a lot of shops outside the visitor center with scarves, alpaca knitwear, indigenous musical instruments and handicrafts, and tons of silver jewelry. After shopping we went to a Peruvian restaurant and had some truly fantastic food. (After returning home I found this website Laylita’s recipes with tons of Ecuadorian as well as Peruvian recipes. I’ve tried a dozen or so already and they are all really, really good. We’re actually having the seco de cordero/lamb stew again this week).
We were supposed to also visit an Incan ruin but by the time we were done stuffing ourselves with Peruvian food there was no time. The rehearsal dinner was a series of native Ecuadorian dishes that were so tasty. I could happily eat plantains with every meal (they cook them in so many different ways), and the pineapple they have in Ecuador is nearly white, so you expect it to taste bland, but it is so much more flavorful than the yellow pineapple we have here my husband keep talking about how we wish we could have that again. There was also live music at the dinner, two fellows who could play guitar, flutes and pipes, trading instruments between songs and even playing the guitar and the pan pipe at the same time. They were amazing.
Lastly are some pictures I took at the venue where the wedding was held, flowers upon flowers upon flowers, it was really a gorgeous place for a wedding. And it had the nicest bathrooms in Ecuador, and I’m not just saying that because the men’s and the women’s were separate rooms and were equipped with tissue (some of the places we saw on our road trip were quite an experience. They were all clean, but you brought your own tissue and the division between the men’s room and the women’s was theoretical to nonexistent, including one restaurant where the paper towels for both “sides” was over the urinal, so if you’re going to dry your hands you’re going to have to be friendly).
We still had one day left in Quito before our air travel adventure started, and a few of us Minnesotans had planned to spend the day seeing the things we’d missed seeing on day 9. Plus there was the epic RETURN OF THE KING just get to the end already journey home. And I have a bit I want to say about music, so we’re not done yet. In the mean time, enjoy the gorgeous gardens: