I flew from the Galapagos to Quito where I planned to spend a few days before making the trek to Chimborazo. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is the second highest capital city in the world at 2,800m above sea level (La Paz, Bolivia being the highest at 3,650m). Quito is the actually the highest capital city in the world however housing administrative, legislative and judicial functions. Although, it’s the capital, Quito is the second most populated city in Ecuador behind Guayaquil.
I decided to use some points and stay at the Sheraton for two nights (which turned into four nights because I didn’t want to leave!) before venturing towards Chimborazo. When I arrived, I found out that my friends at Starwood (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Chris!!! The best!) had told the folks at the Sheraton Quito I was coming and they very graciously surprised me with an upgrade to this UNBELIEVABLE suite. It was awesome. I never wanted to leave my room. I even fixed a few meals in the kitchen and took advantage of the refrigerator. Granted, most of the meals I ate were the breakfast and evening happy hour held in the Sheraton Club Lounge and all were superb. Upon arrival, they even left me a plate of delicious treats. Not only was I upgraded to a suite, but they upgraded me to ‘Mrs.’ Beth Meyer as seen in the picture. Ha! Not quite yet…
(Entrance to the Sheraton Suites; the rooms of my suite; my welcome treat & an upgrade to ‘MRS.’ haha!)
One of the main things I wanted to do while in Quito was take a trip to Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) and stand on the Equator, which is about an hour north of Quito. Mitad del Mundo is actually a few hundred meters off the Equator, which they discovered once GPS was created. We first visited the museum with the GPS marked Equator line and watch water go down a drain in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres and also directly on the Equator (it does work, however it cannot be replicated in a toliet, as they are machines).
You can also balance a raw egg on the head of a nail on the Equator. Which I did! I even got an egg master certificate for my achievement, which I am pretty stoked about! On the way to the Equator, we also stopped at Pululagua Volcano Valley for some photos.
Another one of the things I wanted to do while in Quito was explore Old Town Quito. Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has the one of the best preserved and least altered historic centers in Latin America. My friend from diving in the Galapagos was in Quito for the day and also staying at the Sheraton, so Malcolm and I set off to explore Old Town Quito together, along with Edgar our guide/driver. We started with the Basilica del Voto Nacional which had some of the most gorgeous stained glass and was truly impressive. From there, we headed to Plaza Grande where we visited the Palacio del Gobierno (Presidential Palace), beautiful churches including the Cathedral, La Merced, La Compañia de Jesus and the Monasterio de San Francisco. All of the churches were remarkable and incredibly ornate. A the end, we drove up to see La Virgen de Quito along with some marvelous views of the city. Quito is a massive city and the view of Old Town and New Town Quito from the top is special.
On Friday night, in preparation for the big climb on Saturday, I decided to treat myself to a massage and enjoyed the Sheraton sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. Then I hung out in my suite, soaking up every last bit of luxury and watched movies. Saturday morning, I enjoyed my final breakfast in the Sheraton Club lounge and set off to climb a mountain. Staying at the Sheraton Quito was awesome. They rank up at the top with some of the friendliest and most welcoming hotel staff I have ever met. Every single person I encountered was a true delight! I heart Starwood and the Sheraton! 🙂