Somehow, my time in Quito has ended already, and even though a month in a foreign city seems like quite a long time, it never is enough. Luckily, the time flew so fast because I could not have filled it with more adventures and activities. In my next post, I’ll explain about all of the incredible class field trips I went on, so here I’ll talk briefly about a few of my innumerable excursions and journeys with my friends
As a part of our orientation week, we were given a city tour of Quito. It was very helpful to get our bearings since we wouldn’t actually be spending that much time there since the campus is in the nearby town of Cumbayá. Some of the highlights included seeing El Panecillo, a massive statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the city, la Plaza de Independencia, which contains several governmental buildings and cool statues, and several churches including la Iglesia de la Compañia de Jesus and la Iglesia de San Francisco.
After our week of orientations, IES Abroad took us on an incredible day-long trip. We started with breakfast with a marvelous view of the majestic Cayambe Volcano, which is the third tallest peak in Ecuador. Next, we stopped for a hike to the Peguche waterfall, which sprayed us like we were at Niagara Falls. Afterwards, we ventured to the Otavalo artisanal market, which is one of not the largest open-air market in South America. I was able to buy several things including purple Otavaleño pants and an alpaca sweater. Finally, we took a boat ride around Laguna Cuicocha, and as an aspiring geologist, I was in awe because this was a lake formed inside a collapsed volcano crater.
Towering above Quito is Pichincha, a volcano that has a system called el Teloferiqo to carry us part way up. We decided to hike up much further and almost to the very top. With the altitude weighing us down and the last part of our hike completely in the clouds, it was a strenuous and very worthwhile hike, especially considering the views.
During the last full weekend, several others and I went to Baños, a city I recommend that everyone goes to. Although we weren’t there very long, we were able to swing at the famous Casa del Arbol and then spend much of the next day rappelling down waterfalls. The whole thing sounds absolutely ridiculous and made up, and I honestly believe that too.
On the last day on the mainland, we decided to celebrate right. We had a delicious lunch of cuy, which is guinea pig, and even though it sounds gross, ants and larva take the cake of being the “grossest” things I’ve eaten so far on this trip. Afterwards, we went to the season opener of la Liga Deportiva de la Universidad, which is one of the best club soccer teams in South America. The game ended in a 2-2 tie, but it was still one of the greatest nights of the trip so far.
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<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:.4pt; margin-right:21.05pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.5pt"><span style="line-height:103%">Hello! My name is Thomas, and I’m from St. Louis, Missouri and currently am a second year at Case Western Reserve University. I like to think of myself as an avid outdoorsman, and you can often find me backpacking or just having fun outside, and I’m even a summer camp nature counselor. I'm currently studying environmental geology because rocks are the absolute coolest, and if you don't believe me I'd be happy to share my opinions with you.</span></p>