Quito City Tour
As expected, most of us wake-up in the early hours due to our body clock thinking we're still on UK time! Some of us manage to snooze some more, but everyone is pretty early for breakfast. And it is well worth spending plenty of time enjoying the wonderful Patio Andaluz breakfast!
This morning we are exploring the stunning colonial city centre of Quito, the first city to be listed by UNESCO. One of the many advantages of choosing the Patio Andaluz Hotel is it's location, which is just a couple of minutes walk from the main central square. After breakfast we gathered in the hotel courtyard and got wired up with our tourist radios! All tested and working, we joined our local guides, Tomas and Enrique and set off on our 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.
We meet some nursery school age children who are visiting the palace to learn more about their country's history, so we say hello and many photos are taken. Some of us are also lucky enough to see the changing of the guards. The guards are carrying long spears and a few of us get a little too close!
Our tour continues to Quito's Cultural Centre, and next stop is a visit inside the Jesuit church, which is richly adorned with gold leaf. Here we are particularly lucky. As we enter we hear the most wondrous orchestral music. Ecuador's top symphonic orchestra are rehearsing for a performance in the church this evening. The acoustics are perfect, and we sit and enjoy the performance.
Our final stop is San Francisco Square, part of which is now a development site for Quito's new underground railway. Hopefully they will complete their work soon!
After a free afternoon we plan to walk to the nearby Theatrum Restaurant for our dinner event. As we approach the time to set off, there are a few spots of rain, so Dawn and Richard organise some minibus transport and we drive instead. The Theatrum is located above the foyer of the National Theatre and is well known locally as a rather special place to dine. This evening, we've reserved most of the tables! Richard receives his annual gin and tonic from the restaurant management (they remember without being prompted!), and Dawn arranged dinner wine for everyone.
photo © Ammit Jack