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Celebrity Xpedition
Day 1: Arrival in Quito
Day 2: Sightseeing in Ecuador's Capital
Day 3: Embarking on Celebrity Xpedition
Day 4: Exploring San Cristobal
Day 5: Visiting Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island
Day 6: Swimming on Santa Cruz's Bachas Beach...or Not!
Day 7: Enjoying Fernandina Island
Day 8: Strolling the Beaches on Puerto Egas
Day 9: Today's Wacky Adventure -- Sending Mail from Floriana
Day 10: Returning to Quito...and Home.
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Day 10: Monday, Returning to Quito...and Home.
Returning to Quito...and Home.Having exchanged e-mail addresses with newly met friends -- not only our Virginian pals Don and Sandra, but also Joan, a witty horse farmer from North Carolina, and her friend Marilee from Oregon -- we disembark around 9 a.m. to make our way back to Quito and another night at the Marriott before our international flight home.

It's good to have a day's grace in Quito, as we've discovered an excellent shopping mall crammed with bargains a few blocks walk from the hotel. It's also lovely to have a last day's relaxation around the pool, and time -- before our afternoon return the next day -- for a pre-flight massage (an affordable $30 for an hour).

As I lie in the hotel's health spa enjoying a gentle pummel, I decide the cruise I've just taken has not only lived up to but exceeded all my expectations.

Any tips for followers in my wake? Just a few ...

Make sure you pack an overnight bag on the outward flight in case your luggage doesn't make the connection to Quito.

Pack sensible shoes for walking ashore; solid sandals with sturdy soles and good ankles straps should do and will be good for wet landings.

You’ll want to do a bit of walking and toning up before you leave for your trip, particularly if you're planning to take high-intensity excursions.

And above all? Put a Galapagos cruise top of your must-do list. Beg or borrow, do what you must -- but if there's one thing you have to see before you die, it's these fabulous islands. It will, I promise you, be the trip of a lifetime.

Photo of Quito was taken by Murray Cooper and appears courtesy of
Day 9: Today's Wacky Adventure -- Sending Mail from Floriana red arrow  

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