Quito, Ecuador

Plaza Grande o de la Independencia

Here we are in Quito, one of the oldest capital cities in South America and second highest capital city in the world. Quito is at 9,350 feet, while La Paz, Bolivia is at 11,976. It was an easy five hour flight from Atlanta. The flight was far less stressful than the $25 taxi ride from the airport to the Zona Turistica Centro Historico. Our driver would have been competitive against any NASCAR driver.

Arriving at La Casona de la Ronda in the evening, we wanted to walk around a bit. The hotel security guard instructed us on safe areas and eventually pointed us to a great dinner spot.

The potato soup at the Restaurante Los Geranios was served in the most impressive way, and the sangria was stellar.

The potato soup was served on a bed of flaming salt or rocks, not sure which, but it was impressive.

The stop here in Quito is for only two nights. We will continue on to the Galápagos Islands. This is my second visit to Quito, having visited in 2009 with my brother. A fact that the customs official at the airport pointed out. I didn’t know they kept track.

We walked from the south end of the historic district to the north end. Early in the morning it was 48 F and we needed a jacket, but soon had to peel those off. We toured the Basilica del Voto Nacional, including the tower. I did this 13 years ago, and it has changed quite a bit.

This walkway inside the basilica leads to the tower. Thirteen years ago when my brother and I climbed the tower it was just wooden planks. Now they even have a gift shop up inside the basilica on the same level as the stained glass window.
The last set of stairs/ladder to the top of the tower.
The view from the very top of the tower of the basilica.

The historic district has many colorful houses and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. It was first settled by the indigenous people, the Valdivia, before they were conquered by the Inca. The Spanish then occupied the city starting in 1534.

La Casona de la Ronda in Quito.
A souvenir.

Everyone we have met has been very nice, but the funniest encounter was this morning walking back to our hotel. As we walked through the Plaza Belmonte two police officers stopped us to talk. They asked where we were from and then asked if they could take a photo. One of the men handed me a map while the other one took a cell phone photo. They wanted the picture taken as he handed me the map. I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of that exchange as well. That was the second time we had been approached by a uniformed police officer and asked if we needed any assistance or directions. They have been very solicitous.

From the tourist information map:

In the center of the World, and north of Quito, lies the equator which marks latitude O degrees, this is where science, spirituality and history converge in the heart of Earth.

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3 Responses to Quito, Ecuador

  1. Teresa Favazza says:

    Quito looks like a colorful city with beautiful stain glass windows in the basilica! Great pics as always, have fun and don’t mess with the police

  2. augie's says:

    Wonderful post kicking off your trip in Quito.I thought the Incas were the original inhabitants.

  3. Rich says:

    Great post and beautiful pictures, Laura! Amazing presentation of the potato soup with the flaming salt/rocks! Be careful with long hair when enjoying that. I also loved all the colorful photos of doors and balconies – very nice!

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