Posted by: Merrilee | March 24, 2013

Quito by Day

Quito by Day

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Taking a two-hour tour on one of Quito’s double-decker tourist buses is the best way to get up close and personal with some of the lovely balconies and window details of Quito’s colonial center, and at the same time enjoy sprawling vistas of Quito from the top of a nearby volcano.

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One of the stops on this bus is the base of the mountain Cruz Loma where we boarded the Teleferico, the highest cable car in the world, climbing to an altitude of 4000 meters (13,000 feet).  We soared over the city’s surrounding hills and up the flanks of Volcan Pichincha.  At this height it is possible to see 14 peaks of the Andes on a clear day.  Snow-peaked Cotopaxi stood out the day I was there, partially shrouded in wispy clouds.IMG_3248

In the Old Town I always enjoyed the buzzing street life that took place along the narrow streets and in the colonial squares.

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Whenever I found street musicians performing I would stop, enjoy the music for a few minutes, and then leave a few coins.

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In leafy plazas I occasionally found myself privy to an unintelligible heated discussion among a small group of men.

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I often searched out cafes and restaurants recommended by my Lonely Planet guide book.  One such eatery I stopped at on a pedestrian mall just off Plaza Grande was the popular Fruiteria Monserrate.  It had the feeling of an old colonial house with a covered courtyard and interior balconies, much like many of the shops and restaurants in the Old Town.  I enjoyed their delicious fruit salad.

IMG_3531One Sunday I joined hundreds of cyclists, joggers, and walkers who took to the city streets for the weekly “ciclopaseo.”  This is the day when many of Quito’s streets are closed off to cars so locals can reclaim them for a few hours.  Makeshift bike shops were set up along the main thoroughfare.  The permanent city bike-share stands along the way were offering bike rentals to residents.  Mobile fresh fruit stands were inviting.  I had experienced similar scenes on various Sundays last year during my winter travels in neighboring Colombia.

IMG_2881Whether climbing to the top of one of the spires of the Basilica del Voto National (National cathedral), strolling through a colorful public market, or just sitting on a bench in a park or at a bus stop to people-watch, it’s never boring on the streets of Quito.

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Responses

  1. “Whenever I found street musicians performing I would stop, enjoy the music for a few minutes, and then leave a few coins” So romantic!! I love musicians performing too, but in China, it is not often done.


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