We enjoyed the regular time wake-up of this long travel day—at least we didn’t have to get up at 4:00 am! We reversed our trip of a few days ago: bus, boat, bus, plane, and finally a long bus ride back to our Swissotel from the Quito airport —even got the same room. We enjoyed our reunion with Maria and Conel who had stayed in Quito to take care of a serious medical issue. Our farewell dinner that evening was on the gourmet side and delicious. It will be hard to say goodbye to new friends tomorrow.
Our last day was an enjoyable mix of small activities and leisure. Odysseys booked everyone on red eyes to go back home but we had the use of our hotel room the entire day.
First, a trip to the local botanical gardens. There was some overlap with what we see at Selby Gardens in Sarasota, but these were expansive, very well kept, and contained beautiful orchids, carnivorous plants, a desert area with unusual cacti, and a bonsai exhibit which contained exquisitely pruned trees of many kinds.
While waiting around for the rest of the group, our "monkeys" had some fun!
Onto a local market—one which Tomas was very familiar having been there many times. We were probably the only tourists there as the locals bargained and chose their fruits, meats and lunch—pork from the whole hog with sides of salad and rice.
The bus dropped off a few of us at a local handicraft area where we made our last purchases of the trip. Elise and Wendy decided to walk back to the hotel, which, supposedly was not too far. An hour later, having asked at least six different groups of people (including a local fireman, delivery man, and some police cadets), we arrived rather weary but in good shape. Getting lost in cities is fun, and stressful at the same time. Being with a friend makes it more of the former.
After organizing and packing, we ended our trip at Miskay, a highly rated Ecuadorian restaurant that Eileen had researched. Triple ceviche, and salads ended our food experiences with gusto.
Getting home on the red-eye was long, but arriving in Miami at 5 AM made picking up our car from a nearby hotel easy. Despite the 4 ½ hours it took to drive home due to a major accident on the highway (welcome to Florida) , it was good to be home after a wonderful and truly memorable trip.