Leaving Galapagos on August 5 was a cause for me to celebrate. Not because I wanted to leave, but because it was my birthday. I celebrated it that morning in San Cristobal Island of the Galapagos Archipelago and that evening in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
We returned to the same Hilton Colon Quito hotel that had served us so well upon our arrival in Ecuador on July 27. But Quito was different this time. We had a sunny day so rare that as our plane landed we could see the snow-covered volcanos around the city. When we got to the hotel this time, it served me even better than before. This time the hotel’s 19-story building served as an observation post for me to photograph the scene. I found an unlocked door to the roof, where I had an unobstructed 360-degree view.
The Cayambe volcano is about 40 miles northeast of Quito, and at about 19,000 feet it is the third highest mountain in Ecuador. At 15,387 feet on its south slope it is the highest point in the world that the equator crosses and the only point on the equator with snow cover.