The End…

After the longest possible journey back to England… from Quito – Ecuador to Lima – Peru, to Bogota – Columbia, to Madrid – Spain aaaaaand FINALLY to Luton – England… I found myself back in my beautiful (and extremely spacious) house, with a take away curry, absolutely LOVING being home.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy travelling, on the contrary, I absolutely loved travelling and could have easily kept going for a lot longer. However, after nearly three days of “off one plane and on to the next” with a lot of running between connections, delayed flights and panics that i’d miss all of my flights and never get home, it was just so lovely to be in the comfort of my own house. (and the curry did make it even more appealing)

The other aspect of home that was amazing to come back to, was my bedroom. While i’d been away, this had been transformed from the almost junk yard – full to the brim with absolute rubbish – covered in posters, toys and every single possible shade of blue paint – to a stunning (and very grown up), chic, gold, cream and brown paradise. It’s very minimalist, with the puffiest and comfiest bed you’ve ever seen in your life – a god send after months of hostel bunk beds.

Then it was bath time! In hostels, you’re lucky if your dorm has it’s own bathroom, and if this is the case… don’t expect a lot. Normally the shower is nothing more than a dribble and you have to lean up against the wall to get said dribble to land on your head. However, you might get lucky and have a hostel with great showers, if this is the case, it’ll be because the power source for the showers is all in one place, meaning that there is a giant bathroom (or sometimes two) for the whole hostel. Let’s just say it was a much nicer experience bathing in my own house and only having to walk the short distance along the corridor to my OWN room, instead of running through the whole hostel trying to find my 8 man dorm, in a towel after my not-so-power shower.

In terms of summing up South America, it was definitely a once in a life time experience. From the minute we got off our plane from Sydney and arrived in Chile, we knew it would be completely different to anything we had experienced before. Even due to simple things such as the fact that we’d been in Australia, a country so similar to England, for the last two months and were arriving in a country where they don’t speak English! We couldn’t get off the plane and just ask “how do we get here” or “we need a taxi to this place” we had to stop, realise that actually travelling was about to go up by a whole new level of difficulty, and attempt to remember enough spanish to get us where we needed to go. That was the first of our many cultural shocks when we got to South America and obviously there were a lot more to come, including crossing the countries boarders on buses (and then witnessing people trying to smuggle goods across the boarders), having Argentinian men following us down the streets saying that they loved us (creepy), the south american food (absolutely no vegetables, all meat and potatoes), and then just learning about life in the villages while visiting them (including farming, weaving and living in dire conditions). It was an absolutely incredible experience, getting to know a whole new culture and by the end of our trip, when we were volunteering in Peru, we definitely felt like we were now a part of it – something we will be ever thankful for, as every single person who helped us with our south american experience, especially while in Cusco, welcomed us into their lives with open arms. To the children at the Kindergarten, we were “amigas” (friends) and to the staff at the spanish school, and Horti, the lady who looked after us, we were “hijas” (daughters).

The one thing that South America as a whole had to offer, that the other places we visited didn’t, were unbelievably spectacular views, scenery, hills, canyons, lakes, mountains, even roads. Every single place that we visited was beautiful – even if it was a run down old village – everywhere had something unique and special. I can now say that I have stood on the edge of cliffs and mountains overlooking the most beautiful images of countryside, huge rock craters, deserts and vast snow capped peaks. The views we have seen have put everything into perspective, and I one thing that I definitely miss the most, is just walking down the street in whatever South American country I was in, and if I looked up, straight ahead, behind the houses or the sky scrapers, there will be a line of beautiful mountains, looking over me.

Although it’s always hard to pinpoint a favourite moment when the last 8 months have been filled with such different activities, experiences and moments, however I think I actually can narrow it all down. Following the fact that every single place that we visited in South America was absolutely beautiful, my favourite and for me the most stunning country was Peru. Obviously being the home of the vast and spectacular Sacred Valley, then being lucky enough to hike for 5 days across the mountains and ending up at the unbelievably surreal Machu Picchu, it’s hard to make any sort of comparison to this incredible country. The Galapagos also has to have a mention in this section as it was honestly a life changing experience to be that close to the most fascinating animals, witnessing their natural lives as they are just not even the slightest bit bothered by humans and then actually sailing around these incredible islands that just sprung up out of the sea, well, nothing can beat it.

Out of the whole South America trip, I have two favourite cities. The first, obviously, being Cusco. The city that out of my whole 6 months, I stayed in for the longest. Cusco became almost a home away from home, we had a local cafe, a local bar, we had friends there and even a job! Plus it is a buzzy, friendly, atmospheric and very safe city that we always felt happy to be in. My other favourite is San Pedro de Atacama, the small town/city, right next to the Atacama Desert. It was unbelievably bizarre, with the floors and walls and buildings all identical, and basically you have no idea what room or shop or restaurant youre entering until you get inside and find yourself in North Face, or a buzzy fire lit pub with live music. There was always something going on in this crazy town, with friendly people, cool markets and stalls and absolutely DELICIOUS food.

For Australia and Thailand, again I could probably narrow it down to two places. Australia my highlights were the crazy, vast Sydney that lived and exceeded every single rumour, story and expectation, and then the stunning Fraser Island, with absolutely no one on it, a butterfly shaped lake filling the middle of the island, and a 75 mile beach, obviously I was going to be impressed. Then Thailand, following a tiny little man with a machete as he chopped our trekking route through the jungle, cooling off in waterfalls, riding elephants, sleeping in thai villages and bamboo rafting all the way back to civilisation, made the three day Jungle Trek my absolute highlight. The other being the beautiful Koh Tao, my favourite island and the place where I learnt to appreciate the huge ocean and it’s wonders, completed my padi and chilled on huge bean bags in the evening, right on the waters edge while watching fire shows down the beach – absolute bliss.

All in all, it’s been a life changing trip. People always ask if I found myself on my gapyear and I have no idea what this means. As for life lessons, I definitely found my independence, my bravery, my love of languages and discovered unteachable cultural lessons, differences and styles. I am extremely thankful for tiny little home comforts (even as small as the fact that we can put our toilet paper IN THE TOILET and we don’t have to pay an arm and a leg just to get some peanut butter) and I know for sure how incredible my life is, to have had this experience and to be able to share it with all of you.





































When we arrived at the hacienda, Hacienda Cusin, we were shown to our rooms, and then we went for dinner. The whole place is a converted house and stables, it’s unbelievably colonial with catholic paintings and statues and in the dark with absolutely no one around, candles lot and some music playing, it reminded us all of the haunted house ride at Disney, very creepy. However the staff came into the dining room and gave us some menus, they were so friendly and the food was absolutely delicious so we felt a lot better after eating. When we arrived in our room, we had hot water bottles in our beds, fires lit in our rooms and comfy beds waiting for us, for a good nights sleep.

The next morning we woke up to sunshine beaming through the windows, we got up and dressed for breakfast and headed back to the dining room, this time seeing the hacienda in day light and realising how beautiful it is, (the dining room was also a lot less creepy in daylight) for a delicious breakfast of eggs and fresh fruit. As it was such nice weather, we then went and put some deck chairs out in the beautiful garden area behind our rooms and a mat for lounging on, on the floor, but then of course then sun decided to go in and the clouds rolled over and we were left in shade. Change of plan needed, so we all dressed up warm and decided to go for a walk to explore the surrounding country side and the big lake. After walking through not very nice streets, just general third world town scenery, we arrived at the lake after about an hour and along with it came beautiful images of the surrounding country side. If you looked past the piles of rocks randomly left and the houses falling apart, the lake was absolutely stunning and looked over huge vast hills and mountains, covered with colourful houses. There were woman washing their clothes in the river leading into the lake, and men right by the chopping down huge reeds and making them into bundles; apart from that there was literally no one around and the lake was completely empty. We then decided to hike a bit up the surrounding hills to get a view of the lake from above. On the way up we passed fields with cows grazing and corn rows and every single house we passed, dogs would run to the gate or door or even straight at us if there was none of the latter, it was really scary, especially when they came really close barking and then basically followed us until they got bored. Once we were high enough we had absolutely stunning views over all the farming fields, the town and the huge lake, the sun came out and we were all sweating (not sure if it was from the hot sun with all our layers on, or nervous sweat from fear of the dogs.)
Eventually our walk through the fields and along the hills took us back to the main square, where we then walked back to our hacienda. When we arrived back, it was lunch time, so we sat in the outside terrace and had some lunch while the sun shone down on us. Because of the heat we decided to spend the afternoon back in our garden spot, relaxing in the sun however ofcourse the clouds came over and we were left in shade. Determined that it was a hot day, we all stubbornly sat there with our books until about half an hour later when the clouds had moved on and we were left in sunshine for the rest of the afternoon (well on and off but who can complain). After book reading, napping, scrabble and tea in the gardens, the air became cold and it was time to go in. The entrance way to my parents room is a little living area shared between two rooms (the other one isn’t occupied) and so we all got comfy on the big leather sofas, with our complimentary popcorn from renting the film, and watched Super 8.
This took us to dinner time, where the dining room wasn’t new to us and this evening was filled with guests and full of life. Dinner was, once again, delicious and then it was time for bed.

This morning when we woke up the sky was filled with clouds. We ate our breakfast and then headed down to the hacienda stables for some horse riding! Unfortunately Charlie is very scared of horses (more so than me and mummy) and so she didn’t come but the four of us were given our horses with huge South American saddles, and then we started our journey. It was a two hour horse trek, with the horses starting off quite skittish but they soon relaxed and got into a rhythm in the tranquility of the mountains. We climbed actually quite high into the hills and had amazing views of the farm land, covering huge areas, until soon it was time to make our descent. Riding horses like this is easy enough as we actually didn’t have to do anything except sit on them, not even steer, but soon we all had the numbest bums in the whole world, and with the horses walking steeply down hill on rubble for a good half an hour, I think I have the most bruised bum too!
After arriving back at the hacienda, the sun had decided to appear just in time and we lay out on our blankets in our little garden area, and enjoyed our last day together.

The hacienda:







The lake walk:






Horse riding:










And now I start my long journey home! After leaving the Hacienda yesterday at 4.30 for an 8.15 flight that is two hours, the flight way delayed and then took longer that stated and I landed at 11.15. There was then the longest queues EVER for passport and I was at the back, yes literally the last person. Luckily I didn’t have an luggage to collect but in Lima all bags have to then go through scanning, even hand luggage and there were huge queues for that too!

Luckily mummy had booked me into the Costa del Sol Ramada hotel which is literally right in front of the airport and actually really lovely and so check in was super easy and at midnight I was in my huge room with a choice between two double beds, and a huge bath calling me this morning.
Three more flights to go until I’m home…

A Galapagos goodbye

Our last full day on the Galapagos was absolutely incredible. The weather started out grey and cloudy with rough waters and meek mist, however the air was still hot and we remained optimistic as we drove to our boat for the day. Our first activity today was scuba diving, and despite the weather and not very appealing water temperatures, we all kitted up into wetsuits and jumped off the little dingy boat into the freezing water and started snorkelling. Immediately we saw a seal, playing at the edge of the water. It was trying to cool down by floating in the water, with it’s flipper in the air to catch some wind, as it’s flippers act like radiators. It being the Galapagos meant we could get so close to the seal, we actually swam right up to it and it didn’t even move away or notice us as we watched from the water. We then decided to leave the seal in peace and carried on snorkelling, amazed at the hundreds of fish beneath us, schools of snappers, and parrot fish and huge shining blue fish. Soon we came across more seals, jumping in the water and swimming around us. We carried on all along the rock line, until we’d seen millions of fish and the temperature of the water was reaching us through our wetsuits, and then we clambered aboard the dingy and motored back to our big boat.





On board there were showers with fresh warm water, so we rinsed off, got dry and dressed and drove forty five minutes to South Island for our second excursion. The waves were so rough as we sailed to this island with water splashing all over be place, so while we stayed dried under cover indoors, Henry lay out in his swimming trunks on the sun beds that we’re getting absolutely soaked, while sea water sprayed all over him. He actually even fell asleep there until one huge wave completely covered him and he swiftly woke up and came indoors, dropping wet and freezing cold.
When we arrived at South Island, the sun had decided to come out and was shining brilliantly. As we climbed off the dingy onto the dock, there was a seal right in front of us, almost blocking the path, and soon we realised there were loads underneath us too. We walked onto the island and as we were walking down the rocky path, there was a sudden realisation that there were no birds. We questioned this fact but soon we discovered why. As we walked to the edge of the island, that was raised high off the sea level, we felt seriously strong winds hit us, these are winds off the sea that are lifted up by the sheer and steep edge of the island, but never reach the island as the cliff edge just takes them upwards. As we looked down over the edge we saw thousands, if not millions of birds, swooping through the wind current, being lifted high up into the air by the strong blows, or just floating on top. They were swooping in and out of the cliffs as their nests are in holes in the cliffs and it was absolutely incredible to watch. Moreover if you literally took two, even one and a half steps back from the cliff edge, the wind was no longer there and you felt the beating heat of the sun, then step forward again and the winds hit you, tee shirts blow up and hats fly off.





As we moved further down the island, we found huge lone sea lions that had used their strong upper bodies and flippers, to climb all the way up the steep cliff edge to then lie on the edge of the island and have the strong wind hit then, so that they could cool down. There was one that we saw that was absolutely humongous, the largest sea lion I’ve ever seen that was lying so close to us. He sat up and watched us for a while, showing off his huge body, before deciding to slide all the way across the rocks in front of us. He then found a path to slide down or climb down with his flippers, all the way down the steep cliffs before finding an entrance into the sea and diving in.
As we walked back to the dock we saw so many baby sea lions, playing in the rocks, we even saw one feeding from it’s mother. We also, sadly, saw a lot of skeletons and dead sea lions, as it is drought season and the sea lion pubs wait days and days for their mums to bring back food and in this time a lot of the end up starving to death.






We arrived back at the boat with a delicious lunch waiting for us, as we sailed all the way back to our main island in the beautiful sunshine, then got the bus back to the hotel.
After delicious dinner and some rushed packing, we turned in for an early night.

The next morning the hotel staff took our luggage to the airport while we boarded the bus for our last morning’s tour. We arrived at the Charles Darwin research centre and saw how they breed and monitor the baby giant tortoises, until they are 5 years old and ready to be released into the wild. There were hundreds of them and they were absolutely tiny, it was so sweet. We then went to the area that Lonesome George was kept and learnt all about the different attempts to get him to breed with other tortoises similar to him, as he was the last one of his species, but all attempts failed – Lonesome George just wasn’t interested! So they thought… Until one of the female tortoises had babies, however tortoises can hold sperm for up to 16 years so these might not have been George’s babies, however they were born prematurely and all unfortunately died. Scientists are just waiting and holding their breaths now for another 14 years (as George died two years ago) to see if the females will eventually give birth.



We also stopped at huge sink holes, that have randomly appeared in the island as the solid lava underneath had just given way and collapsed.

Then we arrived at the airport, where we were all checked in with our luggage all ready on board. We got our boarding passes, got on the plan, had a long four hour turbulence filled flight, then landed in Quito – where we were met by our guide and driven to our hacienda, Hacienda Cusin.

Galapagos – North Seymour and Santa Cruz Island

At 7.45am our names we’re read out on a list with another family, we met our new tour guide and set off to the little boat. We boated across the harbour, for a bus and drove all the way to the South side of the island, with our tour guide showing us changes in plantation and temperature and different interesting facts of the Galapagos along the way. Because the island is pointed, only one side of the island gets any water and life and the other side, the dry side, is left in drought, but it is also a few degrees hotter. We saw this change and soon we arrived at the port where we boarded our boat for the day, The Sea Finch.
On board we sat in the sun and enjoyed our surroundings for about half an hour while we waited for other people in the group to arrive. Immediately we saw huge, 3m or more sharks underneath the boat, swimming in and out of our engine currents, it was amazing! Soon the other people arrived, and we were off.
After a short boat ride in the beautiful sunshine, we arrived at North Seymour Island and went to explore. It was absolutely boiling and the whole island was filled with life. It honestly felt as if we were in an episode of Jurassic park, or that there was someone behind a bush letting the animals out of cages in front of us as everywhere we walked birds were flying over head, nearing right next to us, screeching to parents for food or making nests, it was unbelievable. We even saw birds flying down to their young in the nests, the young with their beaks would hit the parents beaks, who would then open wide and the young would stick it’s head into it’s parents mouth and eat all the food out of it. The whole island was overgrown with cactus and covered in bird poo and we actually didn’t know where to look as there was something worth seeing, everywhere. We saw baby finches, male and female finches, land iguanas, marine iguanas, and the most famous bird of the Galapagos: the Blue Footed Boobie. These are absolutely fascinating birds and once we came across one, we came across loads. They actually have bright blue feet and the brighter the feet, the more powerful they are as their feet turn bluer when they have eaten more. To find a partner, the male screeches while the female grunts and then they do a dance in front of each other, stomping around on the ground, and lifting their feet up high to show them off. It was absolutely hilarious and extremely interesting and we stood there for so long guessing the Boobie that would win the dance off and therefor get the girl. We then came across the Red Chested Friggots, whose chest can be blown up and takes months and months to fully deflate after. It looked so uncomfortable, like a giant red balloon stuck on it’s neck, but to the bird it’s a sign of wealth and attractiveness and the Friggot was just sitting on his perch, red chest out, waiting for the ladies.









After a few fascinating and amazing hours watching the wildlife go by, we all boarded the boat again for an absolutely delicious lunch of fresh fish, vegetables and banana loaf, made for us by the crew onboard.
After lunch we sailed to a nearby snorkelling spot, took the dingy boat up to the beach, left our things on the shore line and went for an explore along the beach. It honestly felt like we were on paradise island (except we were being eaten to death by horse flies that were actually drawing blood!!!) there were beautiful birds flying over head, iguanas crawling at our feet, clear blue sea beneath us filled with fish and bright blue sky above us. After our beach walk, it was time to snorkel! We kitted up in snorkels, masks and flipper, everyone ditching the wetsuits, walked backwards into the icy water and explored.






We then relaxed for a bit on the beach, before heading back to shore and then the hotel. On the bus on the way back to the finch bag hotel, I suddenly became desperate for the toilet. It was about an 40 minute journey and with bumpy roads and actual road works that we had to drive slowly through, I was beginning to panic. It got to the point that I actually couldn’t hold on any longer and so our tour guide spoke to the boat crew and the bus driver and soon we were makings detour down windy streets with shack like house, until we reached their local laundry! I jumped out and ran in and the lady in charge showed me to the toilet – THANK GOD. An absolutely hilarious end to the day… Well for everyone else who wasn’t panicking like me.

To the Galapagos we goooo!

Yesterday morning we were picked up at 7am and taken to the airport for our flight to the Galápagos Islands. There was a whole section in the airport just for people like us, with a sign saying Galapagos Passengers, so we joined the queue leading us to a scanning machine where all our bags were xrayed, in order to be checked for fruit, vegetables and other items which aren’t allowed to be taken into the Galapagos.
After we’d cleared the scan checks, we stood and waited for about two minutes while our tour guide checked us in and collected our boarding passes and other forms that we needed to fill in (easiest check in ever). We then walked to our gate and joined the queue to board the plane.
When we got to the front of the queue, we realised it actually wasn’t our flight (idiots) and sat for half an hour before once again joining a queue and boarding our plane… For real this time.
The plane stopped off somewhere else in Ecuador after literally about 25 minutes, before taking off again and landing a couple if hours later on one of the Galapagos Islands.
We were given stickers to show our hotel and along with all the other sticker wearers, we were met by two tour guides from our hotel who told us to leave our luggage and board the bus to travel to the hotel.
We had a short five minute bus ride, another shirt journey, but this time on a small boat, and then we boarded our main bus to the hotel. On the way we had two stops…
Our first was to a lava tunnel. When the volcano on the island erupted, the lava flowed down the side and across the island and when this happens, the outside section of the lava cools and dries up while the inside keeps flowing, the cooled section forms a tunnel shape. In the tunnel we were exploring, the roof of a part of it had collapsed, leaving and opening and space for the inhabitants of the Galapagos to build stairs down to it where we could then climb down and explore. It was absolutely amazing, quite damp and unbelievably huge! We could only walk half way down it as some of the roofing had collapsed further down making it impossible to explore the whole thing without crawling, but it was extremely interesting.
While we were standing in the lava tunnel, we also had a history lesson about the Galapagos, it’s age and how the animals came to be inhabited here as they are natural islands that rose up from the sea. Most animals over time either got washed up here by sea currents, flew here or were blown here by sea currents.
Our next stop was at a field absolutely full of giant tortoises, no one knows how they came to be inhabited on the island as obviously they can’t swim or fly here however there are thousands of them that roam around the different islands freely. They are said to live up to 200 years and survive solely off grass and so can pretty much live anywhere, which is exactly what they do on the Galapagos, plod very slowly around wherever they want. The only time they ever have a place to go, is to the coast to lay their eggs as the main land is too humid.
We were then served fresh fruit salad and an empañada before getting back on the bus to drive and then boat to our hotel. The Finch Bay Hotel is absolutely stunning, right on the bay with a hue swimming pool where Galapagos animals such as ducks also swim. We were greeted with smoothies and snacks before being shown to our rooms. We then spent be rest of the afternoon swimming and playing cards, until dinner time where we had a dinner themed with fresh fish caught off the coast of the island before turning in for an early night.




Quito City Tour

Yesterday when we woke up, we’d had small lie in and were feeling a lot less exhausted from our flights the day before. We were picked up at 9am by our tour guide and a minibus, ready to start our city tour of Quito. It started with a drive out of the city and up the surrounding hills which are actually volcanoes! We drove up the non active volcano closest to the city and stopped at a view point with a huge aluminium statue of the Virgin Mary right in the middle. This Virgin Mary is special as she has wings and is standing on top of a snake, representing evil, on top of the world. We walked around the view point seeing views of the whole vastly spreading city, before getting back into the bus and heading into the city.



Our next stop was a cathedral with intricate design on the outside. Each side of the cathedral had different animals engraved into the walls and statues of the animals hanging off the top section. There was a Galapagos side, with animals from the Galapagos such as tortoises and birds and there was an amazon side with alligators. The cathedral inside was absolutely beautiful, with amazing stain glass windows and huge paintings.

Then we visited the main plaza, something which made the city of Quito a lot more attractive in my eyes. It was filled with people sitting on park benches, reading newspapers, having their shoes shined and just relaxing in the outdoor sunshine.


Right on the edge of the plaza is the presidential palace, a beautiful white building with a grand entrance guarded by two guards in uniform. The presidential palace itself was also beautiful inside, although we only saw a bit of it through the gated entrance, as a lot of it’s interior decoration was either bought or given as a gift from the palace of Versailles.

Our next stop was an education centre in the most beautiful building of all. It used to be the university and home of the Jesuits, where they lived, studied and prayed (as it’s connected to a church) however when they Jesuits became quite powerful, the Spanish government at the time didn’t like it and banished the Jesuits, making their beautiful building into a prison (probably the nicest prison in the world). It was soon transformed back into a university before becoming what it is right now, a cultural and education centre.

We then visited the connecting church which is probably the most ridiculous and insane thing I’ve ever seen. The whole of the interior church was covered from head to toe in gold, the floors, the walls, the ceiling, you name it. It was absolutely beautiful and I can see now how the Catholics take such pride in their churches, but it was an insane amount of gold, everywhere.
Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside…
We then walked through La Ronda, a street with a huge walkway and open space leading up to it, as when the volcano erupted in 1999, the lava wiped out this section of the city, and it’s never been re built on. It did, however, give us a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. We walked down the open space and then into La Ronda, which is a very old street full of little artisinale shops (handcrafts) and games all down the road. We played a game where you have to throw coins into a golden toads mouth and another where you have to spin round five times then throw hoops onto bottles. We met a man who hand carves and makes spinning tops, and makes a living out of it, and soon we were at the end of the street. We walked to our last location which was another open plaza, this time with a band on a stage setting up and doing some sound checks, and a beautiful church over looking it all. As we entered the church, we realised a wedding was happening. We sat and watched for a bit, feeling very sorry for the poor couple who we’re getting married with the annoying sounds of trumpets and drums doing a sound check, and a man that kept shouting Hola down the mic every two minutes.

We then parted with our tour guide and headed back to the hotel to get jumpers, as it had gone colder, and then to a restaurant for lunch. We wee enjoying our meal when suddenly the lights flickered, a clock that was no where to be seen started chiming very loudly, the lights went out and a masked figure dressed from head to toe in purple gowns entered the restaurant with two smoking plates in his hands!!! He set them down in front of some people, the lights went on, the music started and everyone resumed their meal as normal! When it came to desert time, we’d been advised to share the ice cream and so ordered three to share and waited for our good. Suddenly the lights flickered, the chimes started, the lights went out, and the hooded figure arrived again with three smoking plates filled with ice cream! Apparently that’s how they serve it there, it was the carbon dioxide smoking when reacted with the water in the bowl beneath the ice cream bowl and it kept the desert freezing cold and made the whole experience so hilarious, slightly embarrassing and very special.



After a wonder around the plaza, daddy got his shoes shined by a young boy, completed filthy with all the ink from his busy shoe shining day. We took in the bizarre Quito city and tried to make sense of it all – a city that basically still lives as if it were 50 years ago. With shoe shiners on the street, material shops as people make their own clothes, shops filled with sewing machines, laundrettes and pharmacies with queues coming out of the door.
At about 4ish we went back to the hotel for a relax, which with our family means a couple of intense and long games of scrabble, before getting changed and heading back into the city a couple if hours later. We had dinner on the third floor of the archbishops plaza, in an Ecuadorean restaurant with a live (absolutely amazing) saxophonist. Dinner was delicious and we were back at the hotel by half 9, ready to pack and have an early night for our early start this morning.