With our flights behind us it actually started to feel like a holiday again. We tried to book a taxis at the reception of our hotel to take us into the main part of town but he tried a few numbers and then gave up saying he couldn't get a good price so would rather not book anything! Mind you it wasn't him who walked instead I suppose. The stroll to the old town was a bit odd, being Sunday a lot of shops were shut and there seemed to be a police presence everywhere - this didn't all make for a safe feeling environment. Still we made it without incident and stumbled across a very busy square with a marching band Ecuador style, not a complicated dance but an endurance event for sure.

Still in search of an open cafe we walked a bit further to the San Fransisco square where we saw with amusement some quite fussy pigeons, some buildings were in favour and were full to the brim while others they wouldn't lower themselves to set foot on. On our stroll we had spotted a bike rice going through the center and we wanted to climb to the top of the hill overlooking the old town and this seemed to be the direction that the race was taking so we started to follow its route. At first there seemed to be lots of marshals but as we progressed up they fell away and the area seemed get progressively poorer the further up we went. With no indication that the road was going to turn up for the top we eventually turned around and went back the way we had come, especially having read our guide book which specifically advised to not wonder around this area. We got back just as lightening lit up the sky and we dashed into a cafe just as a downpour came down like a waterfall. After some communication difficulties we thought we had managed to indicate that we'd like a tea and a coffee - clearly our Spanish skills needed some work when only the coffee arrived!

With the rain easing up we hunted around for a taxis to help us conquer our hill and this seemed harder than it should have been. Eventually we cornered one and jumped in, as soon as we mentioned the tourist destination the meter was turned off and we were down to haggling over the price directly - good to see some things are the same the world over. The view was worth the trouble but the dampness persuaded us not to linger for too long. After some attempts to drop us off at the main square (close) we managed to get him to go a bit further to drop us off at a museum (as agreed). Despite being bang on the right place on our map we didn't find the museum we were looking for but the one marked as next door. This seemed suitable and we enjoyed pottering around viewing our first set of pots and metal work which is so prevalent here. On leaving we spotted a door only ten feet away with the name of our original destination but when we tried to get in the guard without any explanation waved us back into where we had just been.

Back at the hotel we bumped into a few people on our tour group and soon had our welcome meeting in the basement. This seemed to be set up for a cult meeting with a semi-circle of chairs pointing at the master chair. Our guide, at least for the Quito section, didn't have many questions to answer except 'where should we eat?'. David and Pat, a charming Canadian couple whose children have flown the nest and were making the most of their chance to travel, took us to where they had been the night before. Mind you this wanderlust did not extend to being away for the next big ice hockey game of which Pat is a huge fan! It was with some consternation that we found out that no alcohol would be severed in our chosen restaurant, it being a Sunday and all, but we gladly enjoyed their food before heading home with heavy eyelids.