Location: Quito

Hola a todos! After waking up from 11 hours in the airport, we finally got to see Quito in all its glory. We are staying at the Hosteria San Carlos, which is a small ranch-esque hotel at 9,450 feet. After an adorable breakfast, we set off on our tour bus unaware of the culture shock to come.  Pulling into the city, we were shocked by the magnificent view of sprawling landscapes, colorful buildings, and amazing architecture. We ventured up a thin and bumpy road to get to the park where our staff began leading us in bonding activities. The locals found us highly amusing as we scrambled to complete the various activities and challenges. Afterward, we had a picnic lunch consisting of chips and homemade sandwiches. It was bizarre to see stray dogs running around as commonplace as squirrels back home.

Then we met up with our tour guide, a charming woman, who led us through two gorgeous churches. At the first one, we climbed vertical ladders to see an unimaginable view of the city (and get some good pictures). The towers and gargoyles were incredibly detailed and represented the city well. The second church was much more elaborate, with entire walls gilded with gold leaf. After the incredible experience in Quito, we were all exhausted on the bus ride back. We waited an hour and a half for dinner, which was the perfect time to pack for the Galapagos and sit outside together to continue bonding. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of people come together so quickly, and this is only Day 1! We ate a delicious three-course meal consisting of potato soup, pasta, and salad, followed by a jello dessert. Then we went back to our rooms for a good nights rest before getting up at 4:30 this morning to catch our flight to the Galapagos.

We’re looking forward to everything we’ll be doing there and excited for the rest of the trip. Adios!