Feeling lost in Quito, Ecuador’s confusing capital

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Arriving in a new city can be very overwhelming, especially ones on a South American scale. The sprawling mass of high-rises, the unfamiliar street names, and the maze of public transportation can all make navigating a new city a daunting prospect.

In spite of all of this, I like to think that I’m pretty adept at getting my bearings, for the most part. This, however, has not been my experience of Quito. The few days I’ve spent here have been somewhat tainted by the feeling of frustration I’ve been carrying around with me. At no point have I thought, “Ah, I know where I am”, or, “Oh, this is the bus I have to take”. Even the location of my hostel eludes me.

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Heavy, rain-laden clouds provide the backdrop for Ecuador’s capital. It makes for a rather oppressive scene, which would no doubt be lifted by a bit of sunshine. The mountains enclosing the city only add to the claustrophobic feeling I got from being in Quito. Even a trip up the cable car for an impressive view of the city keeps you hemmed in. The lookout point allows an interesting perspective of the city, and, I must admit, gave me a better idea of its layout, but there was no looking beyond Quito. From one side it appeared to be never-ending and forever expanding, and from the other, beautiful, misty mountains restricted any view of what lies beyond.

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Despite all my best efforts, I just couldn’t get to grips with Quito. Everything felt extremely spread out and yet very much closed in. There seemed to be no escaping the constricting capital, and yet any attempt to navigate within its limits was fraught with failure for me.

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I wish I could have enjoyed my time in this city a lot more, but I just don’t know how I could have done it differently for a better experience.

Any advice, or tips are very welcome.

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