Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quito Ecuador is a stunning old city. L'Auberge Inn

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Last night we arrived and the window of our room was wide open.
We are staying in L'Auberge Inn.
It overlooked the city and hills and as the lights twinkled in the still night, it looked lovely.
By 6 a.m., the horns were blasting, and numerous sirens screamed from the nearby ambulances 
going to the hospitals right near here.  
There was no peace and quiet, yet the city seemed inviting.
After having very little sleep last night, we seem refreshed and ready to explore Quito 
(pronounce key-toe).
Right by our hotel there is a great park with food stalls and paddle boats.

The Alameda Parque and surrounding parks are clean and well cared for.
We walk past the 1873 Astronomical Observatory and hope it is open one night for us to gaze at the heavens.

We wander along and buy mango slices off a street vendor for breakfast for my son.
We had already been to a restaurant, and it looked like a good deal.
Fresh fruits, yogurts and granola etc.
But it all came in one bowl - we had figured it was separate so my son and I could chose what we each liked.
We found this fab garden wall with moving fountain.
School kids played happily in it too.

We wander through the old town.
Lots of ladies carry fruit to sell, and babies on their backs.
First stop is a DVD store - $1.50 each so we stock up for our nightly movies. 

We then go to Sucre's Casa.
I think it was $1 to enter.
We get a print-out in English.
This is to be one of our school lessons for the day.

We have a bit of fun and find many of the exhibits are OK to touch.
My son feels the weight of the cannon.

Then we meet Hugo.
He offers to be our personal guide - his English is great.
Now this makes history come alive!
We start all over again and he takes us around and explains the history.

We really enjoy the weapons room.

He explains about the battle.
We learn all about Sucre and Bolivar, and how the northern countries were all one.
And if you look closely at the stairs, you can see that the top of each pole on the stairs is the man's head, and the base is the woman's.
This is to remind the woman she is under the man in authority.

Now look to the right of this photo - behind the door.
These walls are made of animal poop as he tells us.
Covered in chalk paint.
This was so the walls could easily be moved, and were lightweight.
My son thought this was fabulous - poo walls became the topic of conversation! 

We then were able to take photographs where normally no-one is permitted to.
Hugo was fabulous!

Hugo offers to take us to other Museums and churches another day if we wish.
Yes please!
As we left we both talked, and we both felt we knew so much more about the area and the history.

We headed to the square with the statue of freedom.

As Cravaz has just died of Cancer - he was the President of Venezuela, there were flowers and tributes on the church steps. 

It is a lovely square - Plaza Grande & LA Catedral, and the palace of the President is opposite. 

My son gets super excited - he wants to meet the President.

We manage to get in - the wrong end - no idea how they even let us in?
Apparently you have to surrender your passport before entering.
The guard at the gate just let us in!
But as we got further in, we found we needed to surrender the passports.
Ours were back at the hotel in the safety deposit box.
Oh well we can come back another day.
We see the changing of the guard.

Needing a bathroom, and seeing a door to a restaurant we went in.
There awaited a uniformed lift attendant and a very old gate lift.
Up we went with some fellow tourists.
After arriving at the cashier, she invited us to choose either the enclosed restaurant.
Or head up to the roof.
You couldn't stop my son dashing up those stairs, and the delight he expressed when we discovered the view.  It was simply incredible.
You would think we were in Europe.
Right - time for a nice meal and a glass of wine.
Time to sit. To be thankful we feel so happy in Ecuador.
Time to laugh. Time to talk and enjoy our next chapter of life.
I realised the fear had left me.
We talked about how safe we felt. How happy we both were.

We met 2 lovely American ladies and chatted to them.
Then we moved tables as the wind had picked up, and the sun had decided to hide in the clouds.
Next we were chatting away to a lovely English couple.
How wonderful we felt.  Our splurge for the day was well worth it.
Sometimes it is important to have the nicities of life.

 As we wandered home, we found a great book store on Venezuela Ave.
There at the back were 4 rows of English books.
We spent up big.
Study and reading books for my son.
A great couple of books for me.
One included about angels.
Seeing there as an angel - virgin statue guarding the city, I wanted to read up.

As we wandered up the hill towards home we found an amazing church.
Iglesia de la Basilica.

I think it cost $1-$2 to enter.
The stained glass windows and Neo-Gothic architecture is amazing.
It is the biggest church in Ecuador and took over 100 years to be built.
There are a number of shops below here selling plumbing and electrical and souvenirs - a strange mix for a cathedral we laugh.
Apparently you can climb to the top and get a view of the city.
We may go back and do this another day.

My son has decided he wants to be a preacher, so he practices - quite funny!

Outside there is a small square an a statue.
To be honest I can't remember who it was.
It was the end of a wonderful first day in Quito. 
We wander back to the hotel - very happy!

We recommend L'Auberge Inn as a wonderful and economical place to stay.
We stayed here 2 times.
It is between the old and new city.
If you stay one week you get 10% discount.
For us, it was $14 with the discount per night.

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