After the wonders of Machu and Huayna Picchu it will be hard to have an equivalent awe inspiring experience, but we four intrepid travellers will give it our best shot.
Starting with a 4:00am wake up call will make it that just much more difficult though. We fly from Cusco to Lima to Quito arriving just after 1pm. It’s already been a long day when we are met by Odette, our guide for the following day. We are pretty much exhausted and decide to relax for the night. Odette picks us up at 9 – a very civilized hour and we are off for a visit to Latitude 00° 00′ 00′, more commonly known as the equator.
I admit that I was a little sceptical – after all, how can you see something that doesn’t exist. However, it was quite entertaining right from Lynne having a shrunken head placed on her hand – after an initial reaction, the guide pointed out it was a plastic facsimile – to watching Lynne and Terry walk the equator while trying to remain balanced.
Terry is like a rock…
while Lynne, not so much.
On the other hand, when I was standing on the equator, the guide was able to push my fist down from over my head with one finger.
We were in two different hemispheres. Aahhh romance.
From the equator it was off to a short, but informative walking tour of historic Quito. Nothing too much to write about though – just another really old South American city. I was able, though, to try on a hat.
What’s so special about this Panama hat, you ask. It cost $5700US! The shop owners were okay with me trying it on, but were pretty much apoplectic when I handled it by the crease on the top. “Only brim sir”
Final stop was for lunch. Freudian slip?
Sunday brought a 3:45 wake-up call for pick up at 4:20 in order to catch a 6:50 flight to The Galapagos – after all, at that time of the morning the traffic to the airport (30 minutes away) can be brutal. Just not that morning.
We took a van, a plane, a bus and a kodiak/dinghy to get to the Coral I, (our home for the next 72 hours or 4 days, 3 nights depending on the marketing) where they served us a lovely lunch. This is Coral II – the sister ship to ours.
Before I go any further, do you recall my comment about fate as we took the train back from Machu Picchu? One of the couples across the aisle from us was in line to get on the boat with us. Lynne, being the outgoing person she is, chatted them up while we waited. Turns out Carol and Mike are transplanted English, now living in Grenada. A number of years ago (2013 I think), with the assistance of a couple of friends they sailed across the Atlantic, fell in love with Grenada sold their boat and moved. Now that’s an adventure. Anyway the six of us have become fast friends and had a great time on the boat.
After lunch, despite the fact that everyone had had an early start, they put us back into the dinghy or pangas, took us ashore and drove us in a bus the 45 minutes across Santa Cruz Island to the Charles Darwin Research Centre to see giant tortoises. Along the way we received almost no information from our guide. It was so bad that Terry finally tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he was a guide and if he could provide us with some information about what we were seeing. “There are no tortoises here” is his response. Hmmm…
These two were preparing for a little romance of their own. It takes four hours and is very noisy. She doesn’t look like she is looking forward to the experience, does she?
A couple of baby Giant Tortoises.
As we were leaving the research centre we came across a small family of black iguanas.
Then we were dropped off in the village to “Do some shopping and support the local economy.” Instead we hit one of the local bars for some refreshing cuervsas before the 45 minute bus ride back. Now I’m not saying there were a lot of disgruntled passengers about how we spent our afternoon, but then again I’m not saying there weren’t any, either.
Tomorrow – land iguanas, marine iguanas, black iguanas, yellow iguanas, red crabs and a visit to an island with no animals. (Which isn’t exactly why we came to the Galapagos…)