Galapagos Trip: Quito

Finally, a real travel entry! (I know, I’ve fallen way behind on the wines.) For Ted’s parents’ 50th anniversary, they asked us to plan a family trip. We decided to go with them to the Galapagos – they’re birdwatchers, and it was a place we’d wanted to see. Ted decided to do the thing up in style – so when his parents drove up here the evening before, we kicked off dinner with a champagne toast, to a cumulative 73 years of happy marriage, theirs plus ours, and the hope for as many more. Before dawn the next morning, we were picked up by a stretch limo for our trip to the airport (sorry, no photos – the parents are in all of them, and don’t want their images used in an identifiable way on the Internet). For their next surprise, we’d cashed in our airline miles so that the four of us could travel in comfort up in Business class. Good thing, because it was a long trip – one five hour flight to Atlanta, then another to Quito.

We finally arrived at our hotel at 2AM, so we took it easy the next day, just walking around the Mariscal area close to our hotel, which has restaurants and galleries. This included a visit to the local artisan market, where we got most of our souvenir shopping out of our systems. The next day, we elected to skip the canned tours and go on our own to the colonial city center, which has a bunch of churches dating back to the 1600s. Our first stop was Santo Domingo; in a lucky stroke, Ted’s mom asked if there was a map to the attached museum – there wasn’t, but the attendant closed the museum door and conducted us personally through the old monastery that serves as a museum, including several areas that are kept locked. From there we walked to the City Museum, which was very good, sat down in their cafe to enjoy a coffee (tea for me), then to the other old churches: San Francisco, the Society (of Jesuits), and the Cathedral in the Plaza Grand, the square at the heart of the city. We finished up with our first meeting with our fellow passengers and a guide (who turned out not to be ours, just filling in) then a quick dinner to get ready to head out to the islands!
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