Eating our way through Quito

We woke up in the morning to a beautiful view of the city of Quito out of our apartment windows. We are on the ninth floor, so you can see in all directions from every window. We can even see the famous Ecuadorean volcano, Cotopaxi!

The view from our bedroom window
Cotopaxi from our living room window (the snow-capped volcano)

The day started much later than any of us early risers are used to- 9:30 Ecuador time- due to our long travel day yesterday. Our first meal of the day was breakfast at the hotel cafe. Unfortunately the cafe wasn’t super vegetarian-friendly, and we all ended up eating chicken or ground beef empanadas and ham quiche. Que sera, sera. From there, we struggled to navigate to Mirador de Guápalo, our first viewpoint of Quito. Cassidy found a playground to “keep her calluses” while the rest of us enjoyed the views.

Cassidy at the Guápalo playground
Me and dad at the Guápalo viewpoint

After that, we made our way down the hill through the neighborhood of Guápalo (to a small amount of complaining about the heat,) until we reached a church square. There, we hailed a taxi to take us to Parque Carolina, a large central park.

The walk to the church

Although we debated renting electric scooters and cruising the park, we ended up in the Jardín Botánico, a beautiful botanical garden. There was every kind of plant you can imagine, from a rose garden, to carnivorous plants, to bonsai trees (which were the highlight for me!), and everything in between.

Me and Cassidy in the cactus garden at Jardín Botánico
Me with my favorite Bonsai tree

When we’d had our fill of the garden, we made our way to the next meal: lunch! The restaurant that Mom had picked out for us from her Lonely Planet book was nowhere to be found- we’re learning that the book is a little bit outdated in terms of some of its restaurant locations- but we eventually settled down at El Maple, broke out the cards, and ate. I ordered ceviche, little of which I had appetite for, but enjoyed nonetheless.

We walked home from lunch and had a relaxing afternoon, full of crossword puzzles and Netflix. And then, finally, we walked to our last meal of a long day of exploring- dinner at La Briciola, an Italian restaurant. We were pretty much alone in the restaurant, and the wait staff was clearly bored from lack of business, so they kept clearing our unused dishes and bringing us more. The food was delicious, but I could barely eat my eggplant parmesan because I was still so full from lunch!

Overall, a successful first day in Ecuador. Can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow!

-La Niña Curiosa


Wine Making

I am staying at a place that makes wine. This is how they do it:
First they cut the grapes off the vine with scissors and put them in a basket.
Then they put the baskets on a wagon and the tractor drives up to a little cabin.
Then they dump the baskets into a machine that takes the stems off and sends the grapes up a tube into a HUGE tank. Then it sits for fifteen days in the tank. Next they separate the seeds and skin from the juice. Then they put the juice into barrels made of oak. They can not put it in any other type of barrel because the grape juice mixes with the flavor of the oak. When it’s in the barrel it turns into alcohol. It sits in the barrels for six months. Then they mix it with grape juice that hasn’t been in barrels. Then they put it in the bottles and let it sit for a year.
They have goats, chickens, at least four cats and a dog that is tiny.

– La Nina Curiosa