TRAVEL TUESDAY :: QUITO, ECUADOR
I can officially cross South America off of the list of continents that I have stepped foot on! All that is left is Africa, Australia and Antarctica.
Today is the official Travel Tuesday segment for the beautiful city of Quito, Ecuador. Are you tired of Ecuador stories yet? Quito, the capital of city of Ecuador, is located in the heart of the Andes Mountain range in Ecuador. At 9,350 feet above sea level, one can really take in the cool, crisp air. In fact, I had a little bit of problems adjusting to the altitude. Just walking up a flight of stairs had me winded!!
I loved all of the little things about Ecuador that I learned throughout my time there. I learned that bread is just as important to them as some European countries. Because of the culture of Ecuador their breads are not as sweet and decadent as those found in European countries, they are more of sustenance bread to fill one's stomach and provide them with energy. I sampled the breads at the hotel in Quito, and they sure did impress -- especially with the locally made jams.
Ecuador is also the top rose exporting country in the world. Yes, you read that right - the world. Every corner you look there is at least one flower shop or stand showcasing beautiful roses in all different colors. Because roses are highly produced in Ecuador, a dozen roses can be purchased for as little as $1!
I've had good ice cream in my life being in Italy, France and Switzerland; however the ice cream in Ecuador certainly gives those European countries a run for their money in the ice cream department. Instead of being very creamy, this chocolate ice cream I had was very rich and full of flavor. The fresh strawberry sauce on top and the meringue really completed the picture. To top off this amazing ice cream experience, the ice cream is served to look like it is smoking using dry ice - only in Ecuador!
While visiting Quito, we primarily focused wanted to visit the Old Town. In this historic part of Quito, there are many beautiful Catholic churches to be seen that were built by the Spanish when the first arrived into South America. Most of these churches have alters and ceilings finished with gold leaf, no pictures were allowed inside of these churches. No picture could even capture how beautiful and detailed the inside of these churches were.
You can also tell how strongly Ecuadorians feel about their Catholic religion. Every shop that we entered was selling a figurine of the Virgin Mary. Even along the roads there were little chapels everywhere that people offered flowers and money to.
Outside of the Old Town, Quito does show signs of their position as a third world country. This little boy captured my heart. Cleaning the shoes of perfect strangers is how he provides himself with a meal. His hands were dirty and he walked with a little bit of a limb. I didn't get my shoes cleaned, however when my dad gave the little boy just one dollar bill: his face lit up with happiness and he was very grateful. Ecuador is not like America, they work extremely hard and receive very little. They make the most of what they do have and they are very humble and kind people. They are very very proud to be an Ecuadorian.
Yea, we white, American girls don't stand out at all (wink,wink). This little pink building was actually a beautiful hotel that we had lunch and the amazing ice cream at. Typical Ecuadorian foods include bread, plantains, chicken, fish, ceviche (a seafood soup dish), empanadas, many different types of fruit and even cuy or guinea pig (Isabella tried it!).
Visiting another capital of the world is amazing. Quito is not only home to beautiful architecture and history, but it is also home to the kind and welcoming people. I throughly enjoyed my time in this city nestled in the Andes. Stay tuned for a Travel Tuesday on the Ecuadorian Highlands and the Galapagos Islands!