Catacombs, Ladies of the Morning and Dia de los Disfuntos (Day of the Deceased)
I’m not sure if we were lucky or just living right, but our time in Quito coincided with the Ecuadorian holiday Dia de los Disfuntos (Day of the Deceased).
In another lucky stroke which couldn’t have been planned, our hotel room with a balcony overlooked Plaza Santo Domingo, which hosted festivals throughout the week. We enjoyed live entertainment without ever leaving our hotel room!
However, we knew that it was time to move on when we became friendly with women we wanted to refer to as "ladies of the evening" but who were at their regular spots on the square early each morning.
We drank the traditional and delicious colada morada (a dark purple berry drink that turns your mouth black) and saw many vendors selling tiny loaves of bread decorated as babies, which are eaten but were originally meant as offerings for dead relatives.
We visited catacombs and churches and watched as families visited long departed loved ones entombed in the bowels of ancient cathedrals.
We had time to enjoy more than a few great meals and to visit incredible museums housing world class exhibits tucked away in nondescript buildings.
Two of our favorite museums were attached to churches and monasteries and had English speaking tour guides. Museo Dominicano de Arte was right on our Plaza Santo Domingo. It housed incredible works of art and also served as the first medical school in South America. Casa de Santa Mariana de Jesus is the home of the patron saint of Quito and is a working convent for Carmelite nuns. It also dates back centuries and has original works of art.
We even had time to visit a movie theater and see a first run movie in English. We even found a great little pizza place to satisfy our American food cravings.
But, after a good rest in a fabulous city it is time to move on. We are headed south to hike Cotapaxi, the highest active volcano in the world and the Quilotoa Loop. We will be without internet so posting will be limited for the next few days. Hopefully, we will have some great stories to tell and beautiful pictures. Check back for our latest updates.