Quito´s old town is by far one of the only worthwhile places to visit in the capital. Its buildings carry the trace of Ecuador´s colonial era and the prominence of churches reflects Quito´s traditionally Catholic culture. Our first stop was the statue of the Virgen de Quito centering old town, most commonly known as the Panecillo. La Virgen reminds me of pictures of Rio de Janeiro, both overlooking a deeply religious capital. From there, we had a rough idea or the churches and restaurants we wanted to visit. First, we went to Santo Domingo, a Church popular for its plaza, where a statue of Mariscal Sucre stands. Sadly, the inside of the church was being renovated, forcing us to guess what it would look like on a regular day. Although I must say it was interesting watching renovators on their high ladders repainting faded murals.
On our way to the Heladeria San Augustin, we saw the San Augustin church and decided to go in. After the church, we went to the heladeria, which is famous for its helado de paila, made with a traditional technique using copper bowls and wooden spoons. The heladeria has been family-run since 1858 and has
Heladeria San Augustin
Savouring an helado de paila
the best helado de paila in town. After having un helado de leche y mora, we went to one of old town´s most popular churches, Iglesia San Francisco. The most impressive aspect of the church is its Moorish influence. The domes in the church are adorned with mahogany and gold geometric patterns, very similar to the ones that are found on the covers of the Holy Quran.
We then went for lunch at a restaurant called Los Cuevas de Luis Candela. The restaurant was built in the early 60s in a vaulted cellar. Surprisingly, it is known for its toilet that was the first of its kind in Ecuador and was inaugurated by President Arosemenal. The restaurant carries a strong matador theme, with its paintings of bulls and fight scenes, as well as a signed black and white picture of the Spanish Matador Manolo who was said to have eaten here.
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