Day 58 – This Garden

One of the variables of traveling is breakfast.  With Trip Advisor and the various guidebooks you can normally manage to find the needle of a good eatery in a haystack of averageness in whatever city or town you are in.  Breakfast however is something that you generally have to take pot luck with you choice of accommodation, though it is a factor in choosing the accommodation.

There is nothing wrong with the breakfast in our accommodation in Quito, other than the fact there is no choice.  If you want breakfast, you get the same thing everyday.  When you are only in a place for a few days it is not an issue, but we have been here on and off 8 nights.

Thankfully breakfast is a pay as you take it, so today we choose to head out for breakfast instead and find a wonderful place 2 blocks away and enjoy french toast, syrup, fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices and a bags with cream cheese.  I think for the waistlines it’s a good job we didn’t find it until the last day.

Sophie visited the Botanical Gardens yesterday and recommended it to us, so for our last day in Ecuador we walk to the park in the sunshine and visit the gardens.  What a fascinating and beautiful way to spend a couple of hours.

Ecuador is a relatively small country, particularly in S. America, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in diversity. It may only cover 0.17% of the Earth’s surface but its in the Top 10 countries for biodiversity and in terms of plant life, it is THE most diverse in the world with over 17,000 species. Amazingly 4000 of them are orchids! 1 in 5 of the plants in Ecuador is one of these beautiful flowers.

Inside the Botanical gardens they have various sections that try to re-create the habitat areas around the country.  We see a cloud forest area and a rain forest area that are OK but not outstanding, for example the epiphytes are attached to the trees with chicken wire to give the impression of the ecosystem.  However the greenhouses with the ubiquitous orchids are a real highlight.  The range of colour, design and size is staggering and some of them look almost alien – it easy to get lost looking at them and photographing them.

We read that the Ecuadorian government is keen to protect the natural environment, and this is demonstrated by the fact that almost 20% of the countries land is designated a national park.  Good work we think.

The gardens provide a lovely last few hours in Quito before heading to the airport (for our 6th and last time) and saying Adios to Ecuador and head to Peru.

This time we get to leave Lima airport properly and head to our hotel courtesy of a really nice taxi driver that Niki chats to most of the way and it ends up being a joint language class as he helps with Spanish and we help with his English.

A quick bag drop off and head out to a local bar that is achingly cool and we instantly regret not changing out of our ‘traveling clothes’, but the menu of 20+ Pisco sours means that I instantly forget I am in walking trousers and trail shoes and enjoy the first (or many I am sure) Peruvian cocktails.  A great introduction to country No.6.

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