Saludos de Quito! Today marks our final full day in the hostel, until we leave for the coast to stay at Las Delicias Banana Farm. Our journey began with landing in the magnificent city of Quito after several hours of traveling, and we were happy to finally be on the ground. After a quick nap we spent the rest of the day getting to know one another through various group activities. The first adventure during our time in Quito was a trip to the market where we split into groups and got to know each other over a piquant seafood lunch.
As the days went on – so did orientation where we covered the exceedingly important Sacred Six and other rules and agreements. Over the past few days we got to know each other and explore the city together. Our first day exploring the city without Alex or Avy was structured around a group scavenger hunt. Although each group went their own way we all climbed to the top of Basilica Voto Nacional cathedral: one of the most astonishing sites to see in Quito. Along with the amazing sites around the city one of the most unbelievable qualities of staying here was the food. On our second-to-last day we got to go on a food tour around the city, tasting many of the country’s unique foods like cow placenta stew, cow stomach, guatita (cow innards), and Aloe Vera tea with honey.
After our food tour we went to experience a piece of the night life in La Ronda. This is a street where the party of the night is going out with family and enjoying tons of amazing food. The whole street is lined with shops and restaurants that are closed during the day. We went to a little hole-in-the-wall bar that served a hot Ecuadorian beverage consisting of cinnamon, brown sugar, orange juice, and cloves as a garnish. Es muy delicioso, and tastes a lot like apple cider.
We then went back to the hostel to relax and watch movies.
The next morning we woke up, had our last day of yoga, and got ready to go on a walking tour of Quito. For breakfast we had a protein-stacked egg and tomato meal with bread and many fruits. Then we left for the walking tour. We strolled around the city for a few hours with a guide and saw tons of amazing buildings around the city. We saw the Independence Plaza, where the president of the country and the Mayor of Quito reside. After that we went to The Church of la Compania de Jesus in where the whole interior was decorated with gold. We learned that the Quito version of the Virgin Mary was built with wings. The Virgin of Quito is completely unique and the artist that made it is the renowned Bernardo de Legarda. His work can be recognized for the detail that he put into the dress of the Virgin of Quito and his baroque style of art.
After the tour we split into groups of four and gathered snacks and shirts in the city to prepare for our trip to Las Delicias. We also got lunch because most of us were famished and exhausted after walking around for three and a half hours. Then we all met back up at the hostel, started packing, and did some final orientation activities.