On our last day in Quito, we opted to stay in town since we were leaving the next day for the Amazon. We headed into the Old Town to try see a few things we missed on our previous walk about that part of town. There just happened to be a parade in celebration of the upcoming Quito Festival, so we stood and watched it for a while. The parade was made up of groups from various high schools playing drums and doing some dances. From there, we went over to the Palacio del Gobierno. We had wanted to see inside it, but we were unable to once again as it would have meant standing in a long line for a considerable amount of time. Instead we headed over to the San Francisco Monastery and wandered around inside. We saw some monks, but mainly the monastery has been made into an art gallery so we looked at the art and saw the chapel which had beautiful woodwork but was under renovations.
Before leaving for our trip to Ecuador, I read about some bike trips that are available there. I had done a downhill mountain biking trip in Bolivia that was a lot of fun, so we decided to try to do one in Ecuador. We signed up for a downhill trip with Biking Dutchman, a well-known outfit in Quito. When the day arrived, we got geared up and headed out early in the morning to meet our guide and the other participants. On this trip, we had two American guys join us for the day. They were really friendly and quite hilarious with stories of the debauchery on their trip so far. We headed out of town in a 4x4 with the bikes on top to our starting point.
In between our Galapagos trip and heading to the Amazon, we had four days in Quito. We decided to go on several day trips outside of the city so that we could see a little more of the country. We had spent two days in Quito before the Galapagos, and felt we had seen most of what we wanted to see in Quito already. Our first trip took us to Quilotoa, a lake in a volcanic crater. The second was to the market town of Otavalo, and the third was a downhill mountain bike trip. On our fourth day, we tried to see a few last things in Quito and got ready for our trip to the Amazon.