Going from the coastal plains of the Houston area to the Andean heights of Quito, in one fell swoop, was quite an amazing start to our Ecuador and Peru adventure. To paraphrase the Bible, “The attitude was willing, but the altitude makes one weak.” Thankfully, neither Kathy nor I have altitude sickness, but walking Quito’s rolling hills at 10,000 feet does work on the lung capacity.
Quito is a wonderful city set between mountain vistas on all sides. Our day took us to some of the colonial gems of the El Centro, or historic center, of the city. We purposely made today a moseying kind of day to acclimate ourselves to the altitude. Two churches that stood out were Santo Domingo (right by our hotel) and San Francisco. Both were begun in the early 1500s and feature Baroque Spanish architecture–beautiful. On our walkabout, we happened upon several marching bands in a parade along one of Quito’s major shopping streets–an unexpected joy of travel.
Our hotel, a restored colonial house in the city’s historic center, has a breakfast room with expansive views of the surrounding hills, including Legarda’s (Ecuador’s famous artist) Virgin, a winged icon of the Virgin Mary overlooking the city. Later in the day, we tried Ecuadorian food, shrimp on fresh coconut with a mango sauce and hearts of palm. Tasty. But the Ecuadorian beer was the highlight for me. It was as good, or better, than any I have tasted anywhere. Really!
Hopefully, tomorrow’s attitude will easily overcome the altitude. If not, I know where the good beer is served. WEG