We got settled into our new place in Quito yesterday. We’re staying at a guest house in an upper-middle class residential area with a park next door that is a quick bus ride to the historic centre of town. We have 4 beds on the attic floor with our own bathroom. This is the first time we’ve stayed in someone’s house while they are living there. Our hosts are a nice couple, an Ecuadorian man and his German wife with their 2 year old son. The children have enjoyed playing together, but I miss having full access to a kitchen and a place to ourselves. So far, Quito has been pretty expensive. This place is at the very top of our price range and is the smallest accommodation yet.
The food can be inexpensive, there are panaderias on every corner selling fresh breads and pastries, and the fruit is really cheap, they practically give bananas away. We have been getting almuerzos (in Mexico we call these comida corrida) as our main meal. These lunches are typically served from 1-3 p.m. and include soup, meat, rice, “salad,” and an agua mixed with fresh fruit all for about $2.
There are some extremely pricey restaurants in Quito as well, we ate at an excellent seafood restaurant that the Dra. recommended that ended up costing a total of $70. I told Israel next time we’ll have to get a recommendation from the staff, not the Dr.
Today we took the bus to the historic centre. The entire area is a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site. The city was founded in 1534 and the old town is full of colonial architecture with churches everywhere.
We got off the bus at the mercado and headed a few blocks uphill to the Plaza de la Independencia. After wandering around the Plaza with our newly acquired balloon animals we made our way to the Monastery of San Francisco. Its the city’s largest colonial structure and the oldest church. The church inside had ornate artwork with all kinds of gilded gold all over.
I thought it would be interesting since it had a museum inside. The museum was full of gory catholic paintings and sculptures. I don’t know why I expected any differently.
We hadn’t had our fill of catholicism just yet so we climbed another hill to check out the Basilica. I’m so glad we made the effort, it was even worth the $2 entrance fee. The Basilica is at the top of the hill and has beautiful views of the whole city.
We got to climb up to the top of the sanctuary and look at all the stained glass up close.
Then we were able to climb even higher above the roof of the sanctuary to the tower above.
Jovani completely freaked out after climbing the ladder to the first overlook. Judah, however loved the thrill of being up so high. So, Israel went with Judah up an extremely steep ladder to the very top of the tower. It was like being back at the City Museum in St. Louis. After they descended we made our way to the opposite side where we could climb up inside the clock tower. Jovani continued with his worrying, so we stayed on the lower level investigating the way the clock works while everyone else enjoyed the views at the top.
All the climbing left us exhausted, so after lunch we went back to the house to rest and plan tomorrow’s adventure.