Our first full day in Quito was full of adventures as we walked more than 12,000 steps exploring the historic part of this beautiful capital city that is home to some 2 million people. We explored a small part of the city today all on foot as we immersed ourselves in the culture and cuisine.
The day began with a breakfast buffet at 7:45 a.m. that included fruits, breads, eggs, cheeses, ham, juices and coffee.
After breakfast, we walked to a small plaza near the Museo Ciudad to take our hourlong Spanish class with native speakers. We broke into four small groups and spread out across the plaza. Our teachers were Ruth, Cristina, Jimena and Ibeth. (Ibeth is actually our guide Luis’ wife. She runs a Spanish-language school close to where we are teaching.) The four teachers used a variety of speaking activities with each group, as our outcome for the Spanish classes was to help boost the students’ confidence and get them speaking right away. Our students did a great job and several of them were even surprised by how easy it was to speak with and understand their four teachers from Quito.
Next, we met with Caridad, a local guide who took us on a walking tour of Quito. Caridad was dressed in historic clothing as she walked us through the streets of Old Quito. We visited the Plaza de Independencia, Catedral de Quito, la Iglesia Compania and La Plaza de San Francisco. We learned about the history of these places, their importance in Quito and the architecture.
In Ecuador, it’s normal to see women carrying their babies on their backs. The word for baby in Ecuador is “guagua,” and Caridad taught us how the women use a “faja” to secure the babies on their backs. Women normally carry their babies this way for the first two or three months. Zoe volunteered to be our “guagua” so that Caridad could show the students how this works. Click below to see a short video clip of Caridad wrapping Zoe in a faja.
We walked to Hasta La Vuelta Senor for lunch, where the students had their first taste of Ecuador’s gastronomy. Some had seco de chivo (lamb), others had tilapia, and several tried fritada (fried pork served in small pieces). The sides were traditional as well as we sampled soups, plantains, potatos and mote (corn kernels that have been boiled and cooked and are served peeled).
After lunch, we walked uphill to see La Basicila del Voto Nacional. We walked up several flights of stairs, across a small bridge in the church and then clibmed up more ladder-like stairs to get an amazing panoramic view of Quito.
We stopped for an ice cream on the way back to the hotel. Everyone was tired after our first day here, so we decided to rest for a couple of hours before heading out to dinner at Restaurante Vista Hermosa.
We had dinner on the rooftop of Restaurante Vista Hermosa and the views of Quito at night were amazing, as was the food.
What was the highlight of the day? Click below to see what Jackie and Josie have to say.
We have an early start on Friday, as we’ll leave the hotel at 6:30 a.m. to go to the train station, as we’ll catch the 8 a.m. train along the route of the volcanoes as we see a myriad of idyllic sights and do some hiking. Here is a video of what we’ll be doing on Friday. Check back tomorrow for another update about our train trip … and our evening salsa class.
Thanks for following our journey.