Onwards to the Otavalo markets which Lonely planet claims are the best markets in South America but I disagree. They were huge and seemed to go on forever the prices seemed to be ridiculously high and the people were less interested in haggling and if you know my love for haggling this was pretty frustrating. It was quite disappointing but probably a blessing in disguise as we had already acquired an extra bag full of beautiful South American souvenirs. I think if we hadn’t been travelling through South America for this long we would have loved the markets but in my opinion they had nothing on Bolivia and the beautiful hand knitted items we saw there.
On our way to Quito we stopped at the equator and were able to get some photos of us at the centre of the earth! Once we arrived in the capital of Ecuador, Quito it signalled the end of our 62 day tour through South America with Tucan Travel. Although it was sad to say goodbye to so many new friends we know it won’t be the last time we will see them again!
Our tour leader and driver had organised an official farewell lunch for everybody at a restaurant called Zinc Gastro Bar which had an option for an all you can eat lunch. The whole restaurant was beautifully decorated and the food was out of this world. Definitely a fantastic way to finish such a wonderful trip from Santiago all the way up to Quito!
The next day a couple of our fellow travellers; Rohan and Simone then ventured into the historic centre of Quito and were lucky enough to see the changing of the guard that happens every Sunday. It was a very grand affair with the president, a royal band and even well-dressed horses! We then saw a few of the beautiful churches including the cathedral which for a few dollars allows you to climb up the towers on some extremely steep and scary ladders! Once Alex had convinced (peer-pressured) me up the ladder the view was totally worth every single fear-inducing step! We then went to a Vietnamese restaurant called Uncle ho’s for a farewell to two of our close friends Rohan and Simone.
As part of our Galapagos Islands tour we had a tour of Quito included so our guide picked us up and drove us out to the equator museum which was totally worth it! We were able to learn a bit about Ecuador’s history and then our guide showed us some interesting experiments that are only possible right on the gps equatorial line. He demonstrated how water drains a different direction depending if you are on the south or north of the equator which we already knew but we were amazed that it changed only a few stops over the border. He also demonstrated how water drains straight down if you are right on the line. My favourite experiment out of the many they showed us was if you try to walk on the equator in a straight line with your eyes closed and arms out it is incredibly hard and feels like you are drunk as you can feel the centrifugal force of the planet spinning! Totally incredible thing to try out and only able to do in a few places in the world!