Ecuador 1: Quito

The team woke early and were surprised to see a random police officer on night duty greet them.  They received their next clue and the officer checked them out of the pit stop.  Simon and Ang took their bags out to the waiting car and were whisked to Bogotá airport.

Arriving at the airport at a little after 5:15 am, they entered the chaos of hundreds of Colombians travelling with no real organisation behind the epic queues for the check in counters.  Simon and Ang joined the back of the international queue and two hours later arrived at their gate.

They boarded their flight to Lima, Perú and were soon heading south.  Flying over Quito, the team landed in Lima, spent an hour waiting, and then boarded the flight back north to Quito.  They enjoyed the amazing final approach to Quito airport through suburbs that at times seemed to be higher than the aircraft was flying.  After rapidly completing customs formalities, the team jumped into a taxi.

Flying into Quito

Chatting to the driver, both Ang and Simon were impressed at how much easier his Spanish was to understand than previous race destinations.  Taking advantage of this, they were able find out useful information about the coming stage in Ecuador.  Soon they arrived at their destination and were given their tasks for this leg of the race.

First, they set off for an early dinner at a fantastic local Indian restaurant.  Simon and Ang performed well and were able to polish off their delicious authentic curry dinner before any other team.  Receiving their next clue, they returned to their accommodation to wait until morning.

Waking early, they set off on foot to the nearby metro bus line where they rode a bus to the northern terminal.  There they changed buses and soon were on the road to the Mitad Del Mundo or Middle of the World attraction.

The Mitad Del Mundo is a monument that was built to highlight Ecuador’s claim to fame as a country named after the equator that has the equator run through it.  The monument is over the top and only just manages to avoid being cheesy.  Still, Ang was not impressed.  The team raced around the moment, took photos on the equatorial line and then raced out of there, ice creams in hand.  Soon they were on a bus back into the centre of town.

Middle of the world

The bus drove back to town and deposited the team approximately 1.5km away from the old quarter.  This distance while not significant, did give Simon and Ang a chance to get some exercise at altitude.  Within twenty minutes they were at the outskirts of the old town area of Quito.  The team walked around this area and after completing the food challenge at a sleepy and grubby local seafood restaurant, the team were given their next clue.  They were to make their way via bus to Baños where they would spend Christmas in the bathroom.

Old Quito street
Panorama of old Quito
Panorama of a plaza in old Quito

Excitedly they raced back via a packed Trolle bus to their accommodation.  That evening they had more fantastic Indian and along with Team Britain, planned the next day.

Waking early, they set off to the bus station and caught the first bus to Baños

…. to be continued.


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