Quito (New Town to Old Town)

Woke up and eventually got out of bed. Checked the laundry but it was not ready so we had breakfast instead. Afterwards we chilled out in the hotel room as check out was not until 2pm. After some chilling out I went to check if the laundry was ready which it was so we sorted it all out back at the room. After some further chilling we finished packing and made our way down to reception to leave our bags whilst we went to lunch with Rachael who was looking slightly better than yesterday but was not going to the Galapagos due to still being ill. After lunch we moved on to our next hotel in the old town (and via taxi who charged us ($4) and was a little bad at driving! The La Posada Colonial on first impression was a little quirky but seemed ok. Once we had settled we had a quick tour of the old city but it was a little busy with some demonstrations going on. After that we headed back to chill out, After which we popped out for something to eat. Walking the deserted streets was a little disconcerting but eventually we found somewhere to eat. After that we headed back to our room to chill further and go to sleep.

Otavalo to Quito

Woke up really early with the loud sounds of motor vehicles (and the smell of exhaust fumes). Attempted to ignore the sounds but eventually got up and got dressed. Wandered downstairs and bumped into Sarah so went to breakfast together in a restaurant overlooking the main market square. Afterwards we wandered the food and clothing markets (local) which was interesting (strange meat small) before finding a small café for a coke. After which we wandered back to the hotel to get ready for our trip back to Quito. As Rachael was not too good she got a taxi back to Quito with Sarah and Benito whilst Will also got a private cab back with David.The rest of us got a taxi to the bus terminal and caught the public bus to Quito. From the Quito public bus terminal we got picked up by private van to the Amazonia’s hotel. Pheebs and I then took our dirty washing to the laundry next door and then had a late lunch at the Magic Bean. We then headed back to the hotel room to chill out for a little while. At 6pm I went with Carlos to copy David’s camera memory card so we could have a copy of bus pictures (I plan to put them on line for the rest of the tour to see when back at home). However we had to get to the shopping mall to find a photography shop which sold USB sticks and had the ability to read a memory card. Once we got back (albeit a bit late) we attempted to get ready for dinner but Pheebs and my washing was not ready (and would not be until tomorrow morning!) So we headed out in shorts. Carlos took us to an Italian (minus Rachael who still was not 100% well, although we did say goodbye to her before dinner) Where we had our final meal together. After that we headed back to the hotel to say our final farewells before going to bed. Pheebs did pay Rachael a visit to check she was ok and to swop mobile numbers as we were going to be around for a while before our tip to the Galapagos Islands. So the end of our First Gap Tour………

Cayambe to Otavalo

Woke up as per usual and Pheebs and I headed to breakfast with the others. We had packed the night before so after breakfast we sorted out last minute stuff out and met Carlos. We then walked down the path to wait for the first bus to take us back to Cayambe. From there we had to wait for another bus to take us to Otavalo (which only took 30 – 40mins). Once there we checked into our hotel and then met Carlos in reception for a quick city tour. As we all wanted to visit the nearby lake, Carlos ordered a minivan driven by Washington. It only took 20- 30mins before we arrived at the lake. From there we took a boat ride around the crater lake. We were shown the volcanic water bubbles which percolated through the lake (the volcano is still active but not erupted for 4000 odd years) After that we were driven back to the town where Pheebs and I went for lunch on our own. After that we went shopping in the market and bought some rugs and hats. We wandered around the market for a while longer before heading back to the hotel. There we showered and chilled out for a while. At 4pm Jennifer knocked on the door to say Rachael was not very well and she was being taken to the hospital! (which was a little worrying!). We waited for a while and then met the rest of the group in the lobby for dinner. I got a call from Carlos to say that Rachael was ok and to go next door for dinner which we did (Pheebs had reservations about it). The meal (fish) was ok. Eventually Carlos and the girls came back and told us what happened.(she had a viral infection which was not contagious) After dinner Pheebs and I had a quick wander of the streets before heading back to the hotel room to chill and before going to bed.

Cayambe

Woke up and headed into the dining room for breakfast (where I was accused of stealing a seat!), after which we got ready for our trip up to the glacier 4×4!. The trip up the mountain took about an hour and a half with some very bumpy roads to navigate (and I was in the very back seat!) Once we got to the top (4800m) we walked around admiring the view of the glacier and surrounding countryside. After some time we got back in the 4×4’s and headed down the mountain (worth noting that Carlos was also driving one of the 4×4’s!) After we got back we had lunch and chilled out Pheebs and I also managed to have a swim but it was slightly chilly. (It took me a while to get into the pool!). After that we chilled out some more by the pool before having dinner at 6.30pm. After that I helped Carlos with attempting to send an email for Will (but failed as he had no email account) so we had to use mine. However by the time Will actually wrote the mail the internet time ran out! After that Pheebs and I headed to bed. Night