Christopher Newport Ecuador + Galápagos

Exploring the City of Quito

Monday, May 24, 2021

Another amazing day in Ecuador! We all woke up bright and early to make sure we had enough time to get our covid test results back in time before the Galapagos! Fortunately, everyone tested negative! After the covid tests we took a bus ride to el Centro del Mundo to visit a volcano and take some pictures of the small town that resides in the crater.

After the volcano, we went to a museum to learn about the local Andean culture that dates back to before Christ. We learned about the different house types they built, the materials used and daily activities of the tribes. We found it interesting that they believed in an afterlife and enclosed important items they would need in the next life. They believed in rebirth, so the corpses were put into fetal position and buried in large clay pots to represent the female womb as well as the rebirth of the tribe member.

Another fun fact about el Centro del Mundo is that this is where the GPS calculated to be the latitude and longitude of 00º00'00”. We did several fun challenges that showed the magnetic pull of the northern and southern hemispheres. We attempted to balance an egg on a nail head and several of us became Egg Masters and earned a small certificate! We were also demonstrated the clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation of water and how it can drain without any circular current on the equator line!

We visited the old el Centro del Mundo, which was established far before our current technologies and GPS. There they erected a monument of the world to honor the French men who “discovered” the equator through mathematical calculations, which were not too far off from the actual GPS located equator line. We took some cute pictures of us “holding” the globe in our hands! After holding the weight of the world in our hands, we were very hungry. We had empanadas and ice-cream for our lunch! The cheese empanadas were a big hit!

Once our bellies were full, we visited the tallest point of Quito which has a monumental statue of the Virgin Mary made out of aluminum. There is a bible verse that describes Mary defeating a dragon and holding it down with a chain and this is what the statue represents. We also god some beautiful bird's-eye view of the entire city of Quito which is about 45 km long. It is seperated into Old and New Quito . New Quito, which was taken over by the Spanish conquistadors was meant for the more wealthy population while Old Quito to the south was where the indigenous people were pushed and is now considered the “poorer” side of Quito.

Before dinner we were able to go to a massive cathedral to appreciate the architecture since we were not allowed inside due to covid restrictions. The cathedral had an Ecuadorian twist! Instead of typical gargoyles they had animals representing the four different ecological environments of Ecuador, such as: The Amazon, the Galapagos, the Coastal region, and the Andes Mountains.

After all this we were able to sit down and have a very nice dinner while sharing many laughs all around. We had a fun little dress up night tonight, which was nice after being covered in mud for about three days. We cannot wait for the Galapagos and the next step in our adventure!

-Erika and Kat

You can check out more trip photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8eDMdvX8mXmMNTzx5