Thursday, June 14, 2012

Photos from Ecuador - Part One

Last week, I shared some photos from the Peru half of my May top-of-the-bucket-list trip to Peru and Ecuador with Overseas Adventure Travel. Today and tomorrow, I'm posting photos from the Ecuador half of the trip. Enjoy!

Our first day in Ecuador was spent touring Quito. We stopped first for a music and dance performance by the Sinamune Disabled Children's Orchestra, ending with the students dancing with us.

Then we visited the French government's monument to the equator (La Mitad Del Mundo - the middle of the world), followed by a visit to the Inti Nan Museum of native cultures and their version of where the equator was (we are posed behind the marker in the second photo below). Neil's GPS said both locations were off, and the equator actually crossed the street near the museum. The shrunken head in the third photo was from the museum.

We visited Quito's central historic district next, and I caught Neil in the midst of a pigeon takeoff there.The third photo is of the front of La CompaƱia de Jesus, a Jesuit church built in the 1650s, with its twisted solomonic columns. We weren't allowed to take photos of its ornate interior, gilded with over seven tons of gold leaf.

These two guards are in front of the Presidential Palace. The second photo below is of a street scene in the historic district, and the third photo below is of half of our group with our local host family, who served us dinner the first night. The husband was a banker and we had an interesting discussion with him about Ecuador's adoption of the US dollar as its official currency and the economic impacts of that change.

The next day we flew to Santa Cruz island in the Galapagos Islands. We saw giant tortoises at the Primicia Ranch and the Charles Darwin Research Station there (next two photos). Then we strolled through the town of Puerto Ayora (see the third photo of me in the seaside park) before taking a launch to our ship, the Carina (fourth photo below).

The first photo shows most of our tour group in the lounge of the boat, and the second photo is of the dining area across from the lounge. The third photo shows our crew and the fourth is of the glorious sunset that evening.

I'll continue tomorrow with photos of more animals, birds, and sea creatures that we saw in the Galapagos Islands.

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