Originally we were going to leave Lima and fly to the USA. The beauty of travelling is flexibility and we decided to go through Ecuador to Colombia where we had heard great things from fellow travellers. So, another bus over the border to our first stop in Guayaquil which is the biggest city in Ecuador and also where flights depart to the Galapagos. This was a big tease for Heather as a love to see destination, but time and budget was not on our side. We only stayed for one night where we strolled along the Malecon (waterfront promenade) - an area heavily policed and completely safe - even at night!!! Our treat was a big Mac and fries, the first recognised fast food meal on our whole trip.
The next morning we took a cheap internal flight to Quito, the capital of Ecuador which is nearly on the equator and at an altitude of 2850m, where we had booked a hostel in the colonial Old Town. Advice at altitude is to take it easy, drink plenty of water and lay off the alcohol - why were we here?? Needless to say we were straight out and about exploring, drinking little water and stopping off for necessary alcoholic refreshments.
Our favourite building was the Gothic Basilica where we climbed to the top crossing a rickety wooden plank inside the main roof and climbing steep stairs and ladders to the top. The city housed the usual main plaza with a beautiful cathedral, presidential palace with a spectacular weekly changing of the guards, vendors and shoeshine boys.
Our 2nd day we decided to take the hop on, hop off bus to save our weary legs - we only hopped on and didn't bother with the hop off. A great way to see the city and the hill called El Panecillo (little bread loaf) with its huge statue of La Virgen de Quito and great views of the city and the surrounding volcanoes. For lunch we found a Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant which fed us a 3 course lunch and soft drink for £1.50, much less than the £3.00 stamp for a postcard to home! Our time in Quito ended with a tiny restaurant (2 tables on each floor), lit only by candles where we had a romantic burger and a beer.