Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 9 A birthday filled with travel

Today we head to Quito which requires us to take a taxi, which are white pickup trucks on the islands, to the channel where we take a water taxi to the island with the airport and then a bus to the airport from there.

Once we arrived in Quito we got a taxi to Old Town for $26 and it took about an hour. We had to get out and walk a few blocks from the hotel since the traffic was so bad and some streets were blocked off. I could really start to feel the altitude at this point. We had to hike 4 blocks up hill with our heavy backpacks at an altitude of over 9k feet.

Our hotel is right off the plaza San Francisco and is called Hotel Boutique Portuna de cantina. It is a beautifully restored colonial building with a glass atrium that has a lovely metal and recycled glass work of art set just below the glass roof. 

We got our room and then went to find some dinner. We followed some fireworks going off in the sky to Plaza Grande a few blocks away where there was a stage set up and a band playing (very horribly off key I might add). The presidential palace is on this square as is the Quito cathedral. We went to the old archbishops mansion which has now been converted to shops and restaurants for dinner. This building was also a historic colonial building with a central courtyard and many rooms opening onto the courtyard. 

We went to Cafe del Fraile and had a delicious meal (Dylan had the trout with an almond sauce and I had the sea bass in a wine and butter sauce). We followed up dinner with some amazing hot chocolate. Mine had some chunks of thick, yummy cream and they were both served with a side of queso fresco. During our meal there was some beautiful live music being played on the balcony above us. It was a great way to end my birthday.