We arrived in Quito at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport around 11:00 AM last Thursday and headed straight for our hostel, The Secret Garden. After dumping our bags, we headed straight for the Mitad del Mundo, or equator (see future post!).
After visiting the middle of the earth, we headed back into Quito on the Metro, one of Quito's three different public transportation lines. Starving for food we found ourselves wandering around the Old Town Quito near Plaza Grande. The old part of town has been named an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978 and it definitely lived up to its name! We had no trouble locating a cute pizza cafe (with sangria on the menu) to soothe our hunger pains. Exhausted from a day of traveling, we retired early to the sounds of trivia night happening on our hostel rooftop.
Plaza Grande by night.
This central plaza hosts Quito's cathedral, Governor's palace, a cultural center an several shops.
Up early the next day, and well rested, we started to ease the morning chill of Quito with some tea on the rooftop. Next up? A self-guided walking tour through the old town. First? A coffee break at El Cafeto to plan out the sites.
Cool art on our hostel roof overlooking Quito.
Two coffees and map of Quito and we are ready to go!
Artwork on the wall of the coffee shop. We weren't loving it quite as much as this man...but pretty close :)
Caffeinated and ready to move, we wandered down the small, mostly one-way streets of Quito to see what the city had to offer. Here's what we found...
Basilica del Voto Nacional.
This can be seen from all over Quito because it really is as massive as it looks! The Gothic architecture was cool to look at and rather than traditional gargoyles adorning the sides, this church had turtles and iguanas. You can also climb to the top of those two big towers, however, this being out first day in Quito we opted to spare our lungs the added work at a new altitude.
Old men shooting the breeze in Plaza Grande.
I LOVE this photo!
Architecture + light pink = gorgeous.
A typical Trole stop, yet another form of public transportation in Quito.
Typical street in Quito. Looking up at El Panecillo (the little bread loaf) Hill we saw the Virgin of Quito statue.
Fair trade shop Tianguez right underneath San Francisco church. We invested in some artwork here as well as some Ecuadorian dark chocolate.
Exhausted from our walk, we followed a recommendation from friends to check out Cafe Mosaico, for the great view, and according to Lonely Planet, banana pancakes. Lonely Planet has been wrong before about banana pancakes, so I was hopeful, yet skeptical.
Turns out in order to get to the cafe with the great view, you have to go up a lot of steps to look at that view. We did not have a topographical map when we made the decision to walk there. Oops.
Rewards well earned! Scrambled eggs and banana nut pancakes!! WIN.
Finishing out our time in Quito with delicious food and a panoramic view.
Our 24 hour stint in Quito came to an end and we headed off to the bus station to make our way to Otavalo...