Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vivo en Guayaquil, Pero Mi Corazón Está en Quito

Dave and I needed a break from the heat and honking of Guayaquil, so we hopped on a quick flight north.   We spent a wonderful four days in beautiful Quito, Ecuador.  Enjoying the many artisan markets, coffee shops, restaurants, mountains, and cool weather.  I wore jeans and long-sleeved shirts, slept with three blankets on the bed, and never left without my jacket, hat, and gloves for the first time in months.  It was pure heaven.

Quito is a very tourist friendly destination, with people from all over the world walking through the streets.  It is not uncommon to hear whispers of French, Dutch, German, English, and, of course, Spanish as you travel down its cobblestone avenues.  The people are also so very friendly, pointing out points of interest that they have discovered to any other tourist they see.  People often can be seen giving tips on which restaurants to try or where the nearest bookstore can be found to complete strangers they bump into.  Many areas of Quito have a very low-key and relaxed vibe, exactly what Dave and I needed!  
The first day of our Quito vacation included a delicious breakfast at The Magic Bean, complete with real coffee and amazing fresh-squeezed juices, and a visit to the local artisan market that can be found right outside of the Mariscal, the popular tourist district of New Town Quito.  We were able to take our time looking at the many art exhibts on display as well as take a peek in many of the artisan booths as well.  I found some great deals on some jewelry and bags (my weaknesses here in Ecuador, how can you pass up two to four dollar deals?) and Dave enjoyed all the people watching to be had. 

We spent the rest of the day walking around the Mariscal area, soaking in the colonial architecture, fresh mountain air, and the occasional snippits of English.  After making the initial walk-through, we settled at an outdoor cafe where a live band was playing.  We were able to sit, huddled next to an outdoor heating lamp, and enjoy the sunset while we tried to pick out the words we knew in the spanish songs ringing through the square.

We ended our first day with coffee and reading at J Road Coffee, as well as dinner at a cute Italian Cafe.  Then we headed back to our hostel, the Posada del Maple.  If you are ever traveling through Quito, give this little hostel a shot.  Though many may think the hostel a bit rustic, our room was clean and comfortable and able to sleep four.  They provide free internet service, as well as a free breakfast.  Posada del Maple is in the center of the Mariscal district, close enough for a quick walk to any restaurant or club, but far away enough to avoid any noise from the many late night partiers.  

After walking around the square one last time, we headed back to the Posada to rest up for our next day's adventure...the Teleferiqo.

Here are a few more sights from our day's adventures.

More beautiful architecture.

Live music in the main square.

One half of our room. 

The second half of the room, not including the private bath.

The breakfast room at the Posada.

Outside Courtyard