Our flight to Quito arrived at 11:30 pm.  We flew on Avianca airlines.  We can’t say enough good things about Avianca.  The planes are new, they still serve meals and kids get a 20% discount.   Plus their airfares are very competitive.  I don’t know what happened to the US airlines but they could definitely take a lesson from Avianca.

After arriving in Quito, we were met at the airport by our hostel transport.  The cost from the airport was high, but when you are flying into a foreign country late at night, it’s nice to know someone will be there to get you.  About 20 minutes later we were at  Chicago Hostel.  It was after hours and the guy who checked us in didn’t speak English and of course we have limited Spanish, but he got us to our rooms.  A  room with 4 beds wasn’t available, so they put us in two separate rooms, across the hall from each other.  You can’t drink the water in Ecuador and we were so thirsty when we arrived, but the hotel was out of bottled water.  We had to settle for an orange soda.  So far our first impression wasn’t good, as it was raining and the hostel seemed dark,  we were tired and we were getting a touch of altitude sickness, but we went to bed and hoped things would look better in the morning. 

And they did.   It was still raining when we woke up, but the next day things were much better.  Our rooms were actually very nice and extremely clean.  Each room had a double bed and one single and a private bath.  The rooms, including tax, were $20.00 per night each.  Our rooms  and the rooftop terrace, had a great view of the mountains surrounding the city.  The altitude from the rooftop terrace is 9400 feet, yet the mountains in the distance still tower above us.  The clouds come in low with the rain, hiding half of the city in its  mist.  You can sit on the terrace and stare at the scenery for hours.  After a delicious breakfast at the restaurant next door, we really warmed up to the city. 

Our first trip was to walk to Old Town and see the sights.  Of course we had to tour the massive cathedral and churches, but unlike Peru, only one church charged an admission.  La Compania deJesus  charged $2.00 per adult to get in, and it was worth it.  Highlights of the church include a huge painting of Hell, depicting various tortures in hell, and reasons for being condemned.  This contrasted nicely with the excess of the 23 karat gold covering every inch of the church: gold more than likely stolen from the indgenous people by the invading Spaniards.

The rest of the day we just walked and enjoyed the city, Presidential Palace, parks and Plazas.  By early evening we were exhausted and headed to bed early.