Monday morning we arrived in Quito, Ecuador. The city seemed to be dead, no sounds, or people in sight, but then again it was 1 AM in the morning. When we awoke, we were able to see that our assumption of a ghostly city was just that. Though it was only about 8 AM in the morning, the people of the city were lively, and everything around us was colorful.
We began our day driving to a mountain, where we would take a cable car to the top, and then hike to a viewpoint. The cable car was cool, but scary, as we were high up and I was skeptical about a tiny cable car safely carrying five people for fifteen minutes. As soon as we got off of the cable car, the difference in altitude was clear. No longer was it warm and sunny, but windy and chilly. It was also somewhat difficult to breathe, but hydrating regularly helped with that. Our wonderful guide from Envoys (Miguel) led us on a thirty-minute hike to a perfect viewpoint. From there, we could see all of Quito, as well as huge clouds. We took time to reflect on the beautiful view, and all I could feel was truly grateful. Grateful for this opportunity, the people of Quito, and my parents for making this happen. Going to a different country is always a humbling experience, and makes you realize how privileged Americans really are compared to citizens of other countries. We hiked back down from the viewpoint, grabbed a quick snack, and descended the mountain.
We drove around until we reached our destination for lunch. The food was authentic but also appealed to those tourists who weren’t completely ready to test their palates. As we got ready to leave, it began to rain outside. To me, it only made Quito more magical, but it also made me realize the weather in the tropics, humid and rainy. After lunch, we went on a city tour with the wonderful “Pepe”. Pepe taught us all about Quito’s heritage and history as we visited cathedrals and famous buildings. We were able to see the building in which the president lived, and it was huge. Citizens surrounded the building, rallying to show their support for the president. We ended the tour at a chocolate store, where the owner explained the chocolate process to us and gave us some samples.
We then went back to the hotel to prepare for dinner. Dinner was good and was a great opportunity for the group to bond further. We ended the night reflecting on our day as a group. What a wonderful first day in Quito, it was truly wonderful. Thank you to all who made this trip possible!