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Tuesday 24 Dec 2013
Quito, Ecuador

A Christmas Eve reunion

We’d all earned a lie in this morning and caught up over a slow breakfast in the hotel.  Ailsa and I decided to show Mum and Dad around the old quarter, so took a taxi down to San Francisco Plaza.  We spent a pleasant hour over coffee outside a café in the corner of the square, people watching and enjoying the unexpected sunshine.  We’d all expected Quito to be cold, but so far we’d had great weather.  We went back into the souvenir shop Andreas had shown us, this time following the tunnel all the way to the end, where we discovered some very graphic comic statues “communing with the divine”.  Just what Mum and Dad need for their new sunroom!

After wandering around for a while, we found a late lunch in a little chicken restaurant, where we squeezed in to share a table with a local woman and her son.  The roast chicken portions were huge, as were the beers – we’d ordered 600ml bottles each by mistake.  After that, we slowly climbed our way back up hill to the Basilica, which was just as hard work as it had been on the first day.  As part of the drive to renovate the old quarter, the council agreed to give the Basilica an amount of money each month 'until the Basilica was complete'.  It was anticipated the restorations would take about two years, but more than six years later, they were still working on it.  Now the council has said the money will stop in six months' time and suddenly the pace of the building work has picked up dramatically...

We were still full from lunch so couldn’t manage the Christmas menu offered in the hotel restaurant.  Christmas Eve is the big celebration day in Ecuador.  People go to midnight mass and have their Christmas meal and exchange presents afterwards, staying up until 3 or 4am.  The hotel dining room was dressed for the occasion with a projector playing a Celtic Christmas concert at one end.  They were expecting a big night, so we ate early and got out of their way.  This is the first Christmas in 35 years that I’ve been away from home, but I am very happy to have Ailsa and my parents here to share it with.  I would normally be having a drink with my cousins on Christmas Eve, but this year I raised a drink in their direction and wished them well via Facebook instead.  

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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #3 Ecuador and Galapagos Islands

Travel blog by zobeedoo

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This is the big highlight of the year. Joined by my parents and reunited with Ailsa, we'll spend Christmas in Quito, then travel to Galápagos for New Year, celebrating in style with a week on the Queen Beatriz catamaran visiting the southern islands.

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