Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pichincha on a Cloudy Day

On Sunday, July 21, 2013, two friends from work and I, tired from the early trip yesterday to Otavalo and Peguche Waterfall, decided to spend the day in Quito checking some things off of our bucket list.  We met up on the Ecovia in the morning and headed first to the Casa de Cultura to see the Museo Nacional Banco Central which is supposed to have the best archeological exhibits of the museums in Quito.  Aside from the Guayasamin Museum, the Museo Banco Central was pretty good.  There was a lot of ancient pottery as well as an exhibit of Incan gold.
After the museum, we walked to a restaurant in La Mariscal called Baalbek, located on 6 de diciembre y Wilson.  It was probably the nicest restaurant that I have been to in Quito so far and we had quite a full menu for about $22 a person, including appetizers, main plates, desert, juices, and tea.  It was amazing food, and the best customer service I've had here in Ecuador and compared to Spain as well.  The owner is also quite a personality and will personally attend to each of the tables in the restaurant to speak with the clients as well as suggest dishes and menus for the patrons.  We are definitely planning on going back to Baalbek.

Helado de Baklava --> going back for THIS

Delicious Tabouli, Falafel, Kibbe, Rice, Hommous, etc. It's all amazing.
After Baalbek, we took the Trole to Plaza Grande to visit La Compañia church.  Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures inside the church, but it is absolutely beautiful.  Inside, the church is covered in gold leaf almost everywhere with intricate plaster and masonry work everywhere.  I didn't even try to sneak a picture, but just to have an idea of how intricate the church is, here are a couple pictures.
The Outside

The Inside
We didn't spend too much time in La Compañia and left to take a taxi from Centro Historico to the TeleferiQo.  Quito has an elevation of about 2,800 meters above sea level and the top of TeleferiQo has an elevation of about 4,200 meters above sea level.  So even though we have all done fine at Quito's elevation about 9,000 feet above sea level, we all had to walk a little bit slower at the top of the TeleferiQo.  It was also significantly colder up top (we were not really prepared for that) so we hiked around for about a half hour and then went back inside a cafe at the top.  While it was cloudy and we couldn't see the top of Mount Pichincha, but it was still pretty cool to be up there and to see the different patterns of sun and shadow that covered Quito and the mountain range from above.


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