El TelefériQo

Hola y bienvenidos a mi blog! I’ve been in Quito for almost a week now and by far El TelefériQo has been my favorite outing so I though ‘why not make that my first blog?’ El TelefériQo is a multimillion dollar skytram built by the French that takes passengers on a ride 2500 meters up amongst the clouds of Volcán Pichincha. The six-person gondolas overlook the sprawled out and seemingly endless city of Quito and the numerous mountains that surround it.

View from the clouds

We took a $3 taxi to the foot of the skytram where an amusement park, which apparently offers 50 cent rides, was located and where Disney music in Spanish blasted from the speakers… Talk about surreal. The gondola ticket lines were nonexistent and besides us only a few other groups were there on this Friday afternoon. We were definitely the only gringos there.

The ride itself is pretty amazing as the gondola slowly takes you up past the tree line and into the clouds. Once we reached the top of Ruca Pichincha, we were surrounded by clouds and could not see down into the city at all but after a while the gods spoke and said, ‘let there be light’ and BAM patches of sunlight began randomly appearing until the entire city of Quito was visible (yes, I have been told that I should ditch science to become a preacher.) But it really was awesome moment, to say the least, when the clouds parted to open up a spectacular view of everything. At the top, we hiked maybe another 1000 meters, passing a gorgeous little catholic church where mass is held every Sunday and a horse stable where horses are rented out to ride around the trails.

Let me make one thing clear: hiking at an altitude of 4500+ meters is nothing like hiking the mountains of New England or Texas for that matter. The air is significantly thinner and needless to say, I had no shame looking like a hunched over, wheezing jolly old man trying to climb up. To be fair, we had been warned several times not to partake in any strenuous hiking for at least a week after arriving in Quito but as a group of tenacious- some would say stupid but I like the word tenacious- college students, of course we couldn’t listen to such ridiculous advice. The extra 1000 or so meters was well worth the climb until the rain clouds chased us back down.