1 night in quito, ecuador

Last night we landed in Quito for another quick overnight sojourn before a super early morning flight. With only a few hours to check out the city, we kept it brief and simple. A $3 taxi ride to the Mercardo Artisanal (Artisanal Market), where S and I spent a happy hour trawling the stalls for cool Ecuadorean art, cute jewelry, leather goods, alpaca and sheepskin things that were sooooooo soft, and homewares.

Next up, a walk around the hotel (Swissotel, Quito) to check out the surrounding restaurants in the Isabela Catolica area. There was lots on offer - from French to Italian, Mexican to even Chinese, ranging from canteens on the street to super fine dining with valet parking. We ended up settling on what had been recommended to us - purportedly Quito's finest Ecuadorean food in a restaurant called La Choza.

It didn't disappoint - good prices, a huge selection of food, strong cocktails, and cheap beer. We gorged our way through 5 courses (selections of empanadas, ceviches, churrasco and more) and then stumbled happily back to the hotel.

S decided to have a bit of a rest (Quito is over 2000 meters over sea level and the altitude was making us a little less energetic than usual), and I went for a massage in the hotel spa. Martha Sanchez, the Swissotel in-house masseur, was possibly the strongest 5 foot 2 woman I have ever met. She Swedish massaged the living day lights out of me, and whilst I wouldn't say it was entirely pleasant, it was certainly effective - my shoulders suddenly sat lower, my neck was soft as a baby's, and my legs like jelly. By this stage it was almost 11pm and we tumbled into bed for our 6am airport fun this morning.

So there you have it, what to do when you have a scant 5 hours in Quito, Ecuador. If we had 2 more hours we would have also explored the old city, which is wonderfully beautiful, but thankfully we had a drive through it on our few hours experience here last week pre-Galapagos.

Next stop - PERU!