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Above the Clouds

 

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Chimborazo Volcano, Ecuador

Flying to Quito from Cuenca and then to Lima, I figured today would hold little travel interest. I was wrong. As we sharply lifted up from the runway in Cuenca, I could see the mountains in the distance and realized we needed to reach high altitude quickly. It was a cloudy day and as the plane jiggled and shook in the cloud turbulence, I waited for it to pierce through the clouds and reach the sunny sky. We did. As I looked out the window, I saw mountains also piercing through the clouds close to the plane and realized we were skimming close to the Andes. The plane continued its upward climb and I thought we had passed by the mountains. Several minutes later, I was amazed because right by the plane was a majestic snow capped mountain, Chimborazo, Ecuador’s tallest at almost 21,000 feet. What a sight! Several minutes later, Antisana, Ecuador’s fourth tallest at over 18,000 feet appeared with its snow capped top, and finally, Cotopaxi, the second highest at over 19,000 feet appeared. These three snow capped mountains are on or very near the equator and so the snow capped tops are unique and amazing. What a beautiful flight!

As we approached Quito, I noticed that the plane was not in a steep descent, but more of a glide slowly downward. That was because as the plane descended, the ground below ascended. In fact, as we approached the Quito aeropuerto, the ground seemed far below and then, immediately, the plane was making a smooth as glass landing. The airport is on a high hill.

Thankfully, the Quito airport is brand new and sleek and modern. That is good since we have a six hour layover before heading to Lima, Peru. I told Kathy I wanted a hamburger for lunch and the airport has a Johnnie Rockets. Cheeseburger-$18; fries-$7; shake-$8. Nope! Looked around and found an Ecuadorian steakhouse. Cheeseburger-$7 and that includes fries and a salad; carafe of Sangria-$6. Lets see, $33 or $13. Easy choice and the steakhouse has free wifi and a wonderful fresh air balcony overlooking the Andes to boot. This won’t be as difficult a layover as I imagined. WEG

P. S. I did let Kathy have some of the sangria–along with her vegetarian plate. After all, it is a long layover.


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