Quito, Ecuador – The last stop on John’s amazing adventures in Galapagos

Arrived in Quito early evening yesterday. Staying at a hotel called Casa Gangotena right in the heart of the old city, which is all a Unesco heritage area.

quito

All pretty spectacular at night with churches and other buildings illuminated. Had dinner at a recommended restaurant called Hasta la Vuenta SeƱor, inside the old archbishop’s residence. Really good, typical Ecuadorian food.This morning, Tuesday, I met my guide for a walking tour of the area concentrating on meeting real Ecuadoreans. Very interesting. We walked around the streets behind the main plazas and visited a sweet maker who, every morning puts his ingredients, nuts, honey, etc. into a big copper bowl and swings it over a charcoal fire, stirring all the time until they come out as separate, white coated sweets. He is a qualified engineer, but when his father died, continued the family business- his 20 year old son is expected to do so too. 

Ecuadorean sweet maker

Then to the market where we went to a shaman stall, a place where not only do they sell herbal remedies, but also practise. One treatment to stimulate the body is to rub it with nettle leaves and the soothe with other leaves and flowers – they do this in a private area within the booth. I decided to give that one a miss! On to a hat maker and then to a shop where a craftsman restores religious figures – he is busy at this time of year as locals come to him to make their figures of the Madonna, Jesus, etc. look their best for Xmas. Finally to a chocolatier who makes wonderful chocolate from the finest Ecuadorean cocoa beans – I did make purchases here! Lunch and visits to two churches, one which has an interior completely covered in gold leaf and one which dates back to the 16th century, and then a super archeo/anthropological museum. We finis doff at the top of the hill overlooking the city, but since it has been pouring down all day, the view was not its best.Last day tomorrow…