November 7, 2014: Fred and I Walk Through Quito
October 26, 2014: A Visit With My Niece Jeffie in Atlanta
Return to the Index for 2014


November 6-23, 2014
A Trip South America:
Ecuador, the Galapagos, Peru and Machu Picchu


 

Introduction
 

For Christmas, 2012, my good friend Greg gave Fred and I a unique gift. The gift was to pay half of the cost of a trip to the Galapagos Islands in November, 2014. Greg knew that this trip was more expensive than we usually took, but he wanted very much for us to accompany him on this "bucket list" trip. We accepted gratefully, and beginning in early 2014 began to make definitive plans for our trip. The three of us agreed that we would also work in a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru, another of our "bucket list" items.

By early this summer, we had finalized our plans. Greg would have a friend of his from Amsterdam, Yoost (pronounced to rhyme with "post") join him. We would fly from Dallas to Quito and spend two days there (one of which was, technically, part of the Galapagos cruise package). Next, we would embark on the actual cruise to those magical islands. Following the cruise, we would travel to Cuzco, Peru, and spend three days there- one of which would be an all-day trip to Machu Picchu and back. We would conclude our South American odyssey with three days in Lima.

This was such an amazing trip, and resulted in so many pictures, that I will be dividing them up a bit differently here in the photo album. Basically, there will be a page for each day of the trip (although the index will only take you directly to the first day of each of the "sections"- Quito, the Galapagos cruise, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Lima). You can simply go through the whole South American trip day by day starting with this page, with no need to return to an index.



 

November 6-9, 2014
Quito, Ecuador


 

We begin the South American trip with the time we spent in Quito, Ecuador. Fred and I flew there on November 6, one day before Greg and Yoost. We did out own walk about the city on the 7th, and, with Greg and Yoost, went on the cruise-supplied one-day tour of the city on the 8th. We left on the 9th to fly to the Galapagos Islands to begin our cruise. Since we took so many pictures, I'll create an album page for our travel day to Quito and then for each day we spent there.



 

November 6, 2014
Traveling to Quito, Ecuador


 

We met Yoost on Wednesday evening, November 5th, when Greg took us all to dinner at Palomino- a very upscale Texas cuisine restaurant in downtown Dallas. On Thursday morning, November 6th, Greg got up early, letting Yoost sleep, and took Fred and I out to DFW for our 8AM flight to Miami through Pensacola, Florida. He and Yoost would fly tomorrow, meeting us in Quito about 10PM on Friday.

 

Dallas - Pensacola


We got to the airport in plenty of time for the flight, and checked our bags all the way through to Quito. We were on a small American jet to Pensacola, and on a similar plane to Miami. When we got seated on the first flight, we took pictures of each other. These are not very special, so you might skip them. Here is the picture I took of Fred, and here is the picture that Fred took of me.

Our flight took off right on time and we were off on the very first leg of our 18-day trip.


DFW Airport Terminal D

I had my little camera handy as the flight took off, and today was an ideal day for pictures. Our runway was perfectly positioned for me to get an excellent shot of American's Terminal D- the newest of the DFW terminals- just moments after we took off. On the climbout, I also got excellent pictures of the highway interchange just north of the airport, Lake Grapevine, Lake Lewisville and North Dallas before we got too high. You can see those pictures, in that order, by clicking on the thumbnail images below:


The flight to Pensacola was only an hour and a half, but when we came down through the clouds, we could see that the weather here on the Gulf Coast of the Florida Panhandle was entirely unlike what it was in Dallas.


Interstate 10 at Pensacola

As we descended into the Pensacola area, we could easily pick out I-10, a highway we have traveled quite a few times. There is a long highway bridge here that we usually go over in the dark on our way to Florida, and in the early evening on our way home. But I'd never seen it from the air; if you want to see it and the other pictures we took as we came in for a landing in Pensacola, just click on the thumbnail images below:

You may wonder why we left a day early, and why we stopped in Pensacola when there are non-stops to Miami from Dallas. Well, I was using AAdvantage miles for our air portion, and I was able to get one-way trips to Quito from Dallas for only 15,000 miles each- so long as we flew through Pensacola and so long as the trip was on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The saving was such that I couldn't afford to pass it up, and it got us an extra day in Quito to boot. (I used up some old Holiday Inn points for our hotel this evening in Quito; the other hotel nights were part of the cruise package.)

The landing was a smooth one, and in just a few minutes we were approaching our gate.

 

Pensacola - Miami

After a 45-minute ground stop, we were on our way again. The weather was kind of dismal as we climbed out of Pensacola, as you can see here and here, but it improved greatly after we crossed the Gulf of Mexico and got down past Tampa. As we came into Miami for a landing to the east, the weather was quite nice and it made for a nice sequence of pictures as we came in for a landing. You can see that sequence if you will click on the thumbnail images below, left to right:

 

In the Miami Airport

When we arrived in the Miami airport, all we had to do was to go find our gate and then wait for our 5PM departure- about two and a half hours hence. The airport had some interesting decoration. Right near the gate where we arrived, there was a row of colored rocking chairs, which I wasn't sure were some sort of interactive art or not. There were just the four of them, each occupied by a traveler. I thought it made for an interesting picture. And along the concourse, the walls were decorated with all kinds of interesting art. But it wasn't until we got a bit closer to the main terminal that the decoration got really neat.

Loading the player...

In one section of the airport, the concourse walls were covered with interesting arrangements of stuffed fish of all kinds. They were arranged in circles, stars and other shapes and were very colorful. I made a movie of some of them, and you can use the player at left to watch that movie.

And of course, I took a number of pictures of them, and you can click on the thumbnail images below to have a look at some of this amazing natural artwork:


I thought at least this concourse at the Miami airport was very nice, and I suppose it is a good airport to connect through. But outside, we always remember it as a zoo, with constant construction. Today, though, we just headed over to our departure gate to have a seat and read for a while.

 

Miami - Quito

Our flight to Quito departed right on time.


I had selected some good seats on the plane ahead of time, and it turned out that we had a vacant seat between us. There was a meal on the five-hour flight, but mostly we read or I watched some of my recorded TV shows on my laptop. It is always nice when there are seat power outlets for the laptop so I don't have to worry about running out of juice.

It was dark when we landed in Quito, so there are no pictures coming in to their new airport outside of town. Following the guidelines in a little booklet we picked up in customs, we got an official taxi to take us into the city to the Holiday Inn Express- our hotel for this first night. It was a fairly long drive in; the new airport was built some distance out of the city, to replace one much closer in that was getting hemmed in by buildings and other development.

We got to the hotel and checked in to a very nice room, got the laptop set up and then went out for a walk. We went across the street to an interesting McDonald's; it was multi-story and even had a bakery counter inside with desserts.

We walked around the area right by the hotel for a bit, but couldn't see much. There was an interesting fountain and sculpture right next to the hotel, and we took a couple of pictures there. You can see those pictures here and here.

We were pretty tired from our long full day of travel, so we postponed doing much else until tomorrow.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.



November 7, 2014: Fred and I Walk Through Quito, Ecuador
October 26, 2014: A Visit With My Niece Jeffie in Atlanta
Return to the Index for 2014