Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Quito - 19th - 20th November 2007

Its now my last two days in Quito and the last two days of my entire trip.

Somewhere I really did want to go to before I left was the Equator line at Mitad del Mundo about 17km away from Quito.

The monument at Mitad del Mundo.

Mitad del Mundo is where Charles-Marie de La Condamine made measurements in 1736 and determined that this was indeed the equator line. At the center there is a 30 meter high trapezoidal monumnet marking the spot and an elevator to the top give a great view of the surrounding area. Its a great place to visit but apparently since GPS measurements they've determined that it isn't actually on the equator but about 240 meters out! Not bad though for measurements made in 1736 huh?!

The result of Charles-Maries measurements and calculations though gave rise to the metric system and proved that the world is not perfectly round but bulges at the equator.

Just around the corner is Museo Solar Inti Nan which is, according to GPS, right on the equator and a great interesting little museum with lots of information about the equator given by very knowledgeable guides. They also gave demonstrations of water draining down a plug hole in different directions in different hemispheres as well as a demonstration of the pull of forces on the equator line as opposed to just off of it!

A very accurate sundial and me at the equator.

To get to Mitad del Mundo I negotiated the local trole services which were great fun if a little crowded (understatement!). Finally got there though after about an hour and half and costing just 40 pence, if only public transport was this good back home huh?!

In Quito I was staying in the Old Town at Hotel Catedral International which Jean-Marc had found and recommended to me. And what a great hotel it was, it's right in the middle of the city just a couple of minutes from the Grande Plaza, I had a fantastic huge room with two beds a huge window on to the street and a bit of a balcony, oh also a private bathroom and all for just $7.00, bargain (I had gotten used to having my own room on the boat so decided to treat myself!)

For the second day of my Quito experience I decided to soak up the sights of Old Town with all its amazing old buildings and architecture as well as taking some time out for relaxing in the main plaza and soaking up the atmosphere.

The monastery and the presidential building.

This looked like a really nice street in Quito until I read in the guide book that it's notorious for bag snatchers!

Next on the list was the TeleferQo, Quitos newest attraction. It's a sky tram that takes you on a 2.5 km ride up the flanks of Volcan Pichincha to the top of Cruz Loma and the views from the top were amazing, in the guide books it says that the area is very busy with tourists and families but when I went there it was just me and about another 5 people!! Lovely and quite though after the hustle and bustle of the city!

The view from the top with another volcano looming in the background!

The trip up the cable car.

Tomorrow I leave for home, the time has gone by so quickly its incredible!

I've had such a fantastic trip and seen and done so much its been amazing, I've met some fantastic people and seen some incredible sights (all of which are captured on film!) I can't now believe its all at an end and I'm going home!

Now all I have to do is negotiate the nightmare that is American airports (!!), sort out 3000 plus photos and videos, oh and get a job of course!!! :-)

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