Walking in Quito
A good night's sleep does wonders. This morning we awake refreshed and ready to explore Ecuador's Capital City, Quito. Breakfast is served in the beautiful courtyard of the Patio Andaluz Hotel. A nice selection of hot and cold dishes with local fruits and juices, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Our local guides, Santiago and Tomas arrive to start our city walking tour. Firstly we are fitted out with personal radios. These consist of an ear piece and a small receiver about the size of a mobile phone. Richard and Dawn have brought 50 of them from the UK - which was fun getting through customs! We give each guide a transmitting radio with microphone. The result is a greatly enhanced commentary with added flexibility. Guests can listen to our guide while taking photos or staying longer at one location rather than having to stick close to the guide in order to hear.
Our first stop on the walking tour is the main square. Here we see the Presidential Palace and Cathedral before continuing to the Metropolitan Cultural Centre located on the site of an old university. We also visit La Compania de Jesus Church, one of the richest churches in America. The facade boasts six Salomonic columns which are a copy of those by Bernini in the Vatican. Inside the church everything is covered in gold leaf so it is quite a spectacle. Our final stop is San Francisco Square, an old market place now boasting the baroque style San Francisco Church.
This evening we walked to the Theatrum Restaurant which is located at the National Theatre in Quito. It is only a short walk from our hotel but it involves crossing two road junctions. Luckily we find some friendly policemen and they stop the traffic and escort us across the road. It's who you know!
Our dinner menu features a typical shrimp "ceviche" served with dry corn and fried banana chips. Beef Tenderloin is the main dish. Exotic Ecuadorian Fruits is the dessert: Guanabana, Babaco, Guayaba, Naranjilla and Chirimoya. The restaurant hands out a photo card featuring the five fruits so we know what we are eating - a great idea! The dinner is complimented by wine courtesy of the birthday boy. He had tried to keep it a secret but various folk had clearly been planning in advance. There will be a full investigation and a P45 may follow.