Our tour group gather this Sunday morning for our final day together. After breakfast we load our bus for our journey back to Quito. Today we are spending the day in the Old Town and will end the evening with a farewell dinner included by Gate 1.
Quito’s Old Town is full of history and on Sunday the square is quiet. As we tour the city, we learn about its history and pick up a few last night souvenirs from the local street vendors. It is hard for the ladies in our group to refuse a $2 scarf….and when they say 5 for $10 is just sounds even better.
We take a look around the outside of the Presidential Palace and learn that the Changing of the Guards will be tomorrow. Today is our last official tour day but many of us have late flights tomorrow and can attend.
Check-in at the Mercure Hotel Alameda takes only a few minutes and have a few hours before our dinner for exploring the area around our hotel. I learn of a Sunday Market at the local park and decide to do more last shopping.
On the way back to the hotel I discover a church and step inside for a look.
Our Farewell Dinner is at Theatrum, located on the second floor of the Sucre National Theatre. My Octopus is the best I’ve had since I visited Greece many years ago and the desert is made from five different passion fruits, each prepared in a different manner.
After dinner, we toast our Gate 1 Tour Guide, Eduardo and driver, Mario. These two men have worked countless hours over the last 10 days to provide us a very enjoyable vacation. Eduardo’s knowledge of his home country and Mario’s driving skills are incredible.
Some of us say goodbye tonight and a few of us make plans to meet in the morning. My flight is at 11:45 tomorrow night so decide to join a few tour mates to view Changing of the Guards in morning.
It’s Monday and my last day in Ecuador. I am excited to get home and see my dog but I will miss my new friends and the adventures of Ecuador.
The hotel will hold my luggage until my flight tonight so I pack up and check it at the front desk. My new friends, Emily, Barbara and Dave, and I meet this morning and take a cab to the Presidential Palace…well we try to get to the Palace by cab. Traffic is crazy so we jump out and walk the last few blocks.
The square is buzzing with people and we work our way into the crowd. We decide we will not get close to the action so find a vantage point to enable us to see the President of Ecuador and his cabinet on the balcony at the Palace.
The parade of horses and military band begin their procession and the crowd is excited. The President waves to the crowd and flags are flying. Even though we have limited visibility it is exciting.
We have lunch at a Pizza Restaurant, wonder downtown for a few more hours and then take a cab back to the hotel area. There is a big market near the hotel and we want to do a little more last night shopping. I still need to find cigars for my friends at home and just cannot go home without more jewelry.
I purchase a nice leather tote bag at the market and do some last-minute repacking in the hotel lobby. I bought a few alpaca blankets and know they will not fit in my bulging luggage. Delta will allow me two checked bags with my Comfort Plus Seat so I can check the new bag.
I read about the restaurant Miskay on Tripadvisor and had thought of having dinner there on my last night. I mentioned this to Dave and Barbara and she laughed and pulled their card from your bag. A shop owner had recommended it to her the previous day. This was a sign….we had to go.
Our dinner at Miskay was excellent and reasonably priced. My goat stew was very good and Dave’s Trout looks amazing. It was a great end to a great trip.
Returning to our hotel, we join our last remaining tour mates and board our bus to the airport. Many of us have flights at 11:45 so Gate 1 provides us transportation to the airport. At the airport I say good-bye to some of our group and board a Delta flight to Atlanta with others.
I have no regrets in spending my vacation time in Ecuador and I am happy I chose to travel with Gate 1. Every hotel was unique, my meals were fresh and local and our touring was on the go and exciting. I typically like the flexibility of planing my own vacation but Gate 1 did a great job and I just had to sit back and enjoy it.
At home, Badger is enjoying his new Alpaca Blanket and glad I’m home.