Quito city tour
Our first morning in Ecuador. Most of us woke up early due to our body clocks versus the local time difference, so we're enjoying a nice buffet breakfast in good time for our morning city walk. One of the advantages of choosing the Patio Andaluz Hotel is the location, just a couple of minutes walk from the main central square. We're right in the middle of Quito's colonial city centre, which was the first city to be listed by UNESCO.
After breakfast we gathered in the patio and got wired up with our tourist radios! All tested and working, we joined our local guides, Fernando and Santiago and set off on a leisurely walking tour. First stop is the main Independence Square where we begin to learn about the city’s history. On one side of the square is the impresssive Presedential Palace and, after some negotiation, we're allowed through the security gate to take a closer look. Two guards carrying long spears appear to take a discreet interest in our movements!
Our tour continues to Quito's Cultural Centre, where we enjoy some great views from the roof top. Next stop is a visit inside the Jesuit church, which is richly adorned with gold leaf. We conclude at the San Francisco Square, whereour guests scatter in all directions, but mostly to the nearby café recommended by Santiago and Fernando. In fact, within 5 minutes, the entire cafe seating area has been taken over by the Furlongs family! Richard is forced to purchase a beer for the guides, and naturally has to join in to be sociable!
After yesterday afternoon's downpour, we didn't know what to expect re the weather today. We need not have worried. The typical Furlongs weather came out in support! Blue skies, sunny and warm. And it remained bright and dry all day.
This evening we walked down the hill to dine at the Theatrum Restaurant. Located above the foyer of the National Theatre, the restaurant is well known and usually full of locals. Tonight, the Furlongs family has reserved most of the seats! Richard received his annual gin and tonic from the restaurant management (they remember without being prompted), and Dawn bought the dinner wine for everyone. A good night!