Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Galapagos Islands - Quito

03 December 2011

My 60th birthday!  After a very peaceful night at anchor in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, we all woke up refreshed, but sorry that we were going to have to leave the boat.  We did our final packing and went to breakfast, where Lynn organised all the passengers into singing 'Happy Birthday' to me - very touching!  The Captain even came to congratulate me!

Male Frigate bird over the Galapagos Voyager

Not long after breakfast, our bags were loaded on a dinghy and taken ashore.  After saying a final goodbye to the crew, we too were loaded into the dinghys one last time to go ashore.

Female Frigate bird over Galapagos Voyager

On the shore, we were reunited with our bags and loaded onto a bus for our journey back to the airport at Baltra.  On the way, we stopped a twin collapsed volcanic craters for a look.  They were quite an impressive sight.  Then it was back on the bus and onward toward the airport.

The road from the summit of Santa Cruz, Baltra Island in distance

As before, we had to get off the bus with our luggage and load ourselves, and baggage, onto the small ferry that sails between Santa Cruz and Baltra islands.  At the far side, it was off the ferry, make sure our bags were loaded onto a lorry then jump on a small bus up to the airport.

At the airport, we again collected our bags and headed for the chaos of check-in.  To be fair, it could have been a lot worse and after about 30 minutes we were safely ensconced in the departure lounge waiting for our flight to arrive.

The flight was on time, and this time we didn't go via Guayaquil so it was a much quicker journey back to Quito where we were met by someone from the Andean Travel Company.

Our trip back to the hotel was somewhat difficult as there were parades going on to mark the foundation of Quito.  This festival goes on for a couple of weeks reaching its peak on 06 December.

We went out to dinner to Tony Romas for ribs and shrimps, the restaurant was quiet but the food very good.  On the way back in the taxi, we drove past Carolina Park where dozens of giant statues of Hummingbirds had been erected.  All were decorated in different colours and hoards of people were wandering around looking at them. On the roads, in addition to the usual traffic, there were loads of 'party buses' cruising around.  These buses often had a band on the roof, passengers in the trucks and more on platforms suspended from the back of each lorry.  There was very loud music from a concert in Carolina Park too.

Once back at the hotel, we could still hear the concert so we closed our window and put the airconditioning on.  Sometime after midnight the concert ended!

What a great birthday, breakfast on a boat in the Galapagos Islands, lunch on a plane crossing the Andes and dinner in the middle of a fiesta in Quito - one to remember!

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