Galapagos Islands 2015 Vacation (INCA Tours)

Day 1

May 6, 2015

Our day in (almost) painful detail

3:10am Alarm went off at 3.  We are trying to wake up and get ready to leave Barbara’s house.  Car service is scheduled to arrive about 3:30am. 3:15am Driver just called.  He is in the driveway and waiting.  Yikes. 5:25am Okay.  Whirlwind.  We are on the plane. Rode to Newark, NJ airport in almost no traffic.  Got checked in and dropped off our suitcases.  We made it through security pretty easy.  Somehow our boarding passes were both marked “TSA Precheck” which means that we were directed to a shorter line for security.  Would have been very quick but my printed boarding pass would not scan so we had to go back up stairs, return to the check in line, have them print out another boarding pass, back down stairs, through the precheck/no precheck point, and try again.  This time my boarding pass worked and we made it through security not long before the plane was supposed to start boarding. 6:10am The plane has taken off.  We are still climbing but our journey has really begun. 8:20am Landing approach for Miami International Airport. 8:40am We have landed and deplaned.  We had a decent walk to get to the gate for our next leg but we are now waiting to board. 9:25am On flight 947 from Miami to Quito, Ecuador.  We are seated and not so patiently waiting for our 9:50am departure. 10:10am In the air and headed for Quito! (Drop an hour to go from Miami to Quito time – Both cities in the same time zone but Ecuador doesn’t do daylight savings) 12:35pm On approach to Quito Airport. 12:50pm We are on the ground in Quito taxiing to the gate.  Very interesting terrain.  The city appears to be nestled on a high plateau between higher peaks.  Found out later that most of the peaks we can see are volcanic in nature.  I wonder if the residents are nervous about that? 2:15pm Once we picked up our suitcases, got processed through immigration, passed customs and found our way to the main area of the Quito Airport we were met by Gloria from INCA.  Gloria guided us out the doors to a waiting van.  The driver (we didn’t get his name) put our bags in the back and then we took off. It was about an hours drive, in city traffic, from the airport to our hotel.  Pretty interesting getting this kind of tour of Quito.  Gloria was great about explaining what we were seeing and just general bits of information about Quito and Ecuador. 3:20pm We are in room 1764 on the 17th floor of the Hotel Hilton Colon Quito.  (FYI-Colon is really Columbus in Spanish). 8:00pm We loved the view from our room.  We took many photos of the surrounding country and city.  Because of the time we arrived at the Hilton we really didn’t have any time for sightseeing.  We stayed in and relaxed.  We even decided to order room service.  We shared two dishes.  A plate of tortellini (cappelletti) carbonara stuffed with spinach and bacon, and it was very good.  We also split a traditional Ecuadorian dish, sancocho quitenio.  Made with meat, corn (left on the cob but sliced into sections), manioc (yucca), green plantain and onion.  The soup was different from anything I had ever had, with a strong flavor, but good. 8:40pm We both showered and packed our bags, leaving out what we would need in the morning, getting ready for another early departure.  Managed to find a movie playing on the TV in English. 10:00pm Bed time.
"Leave only footprints, take only memories" (...and maybe some pictures)
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