Home > Ecuador > Enjoying Quito by night (Part 2)

Enjoying Quito by night (Part 2)

The street lamps and the flower-pot balconies of the colonial houses escort our walk up Sucre street… At the end of the pedestrian alley a superb view unfolds before our eyes: Quito’s largest, oldest and history-rich square: the Plaza the San Francisco…. The near five centuries old Square, conserves its majesty in every corner, the centenary houses which surround the Plaza showing the best of the colonial architecture, the stone fountain now quiet and the daytime pigeons gone to sleep, to be replaced by fascinated local and foreign visitors.  Presiding the scene is the grandiose church of San Francisco, built in 1535, with its adjacent Convent, beautifully illuminated in a combination of yellows and oranges which highlight the high towers and the stone façade of the church.

At the southern end of the square, a stage is ready to receive the artists who will perform a night time, open-air, musical concert which begins to attract hundreds of viewers…

From San Francisco’s semi-circular atrium we can admire the green domes of La Compañia Church, illuminated in purple while to the north, a long block away, the equally centenary Church and Convent of La Merced, shows its main bell tower splendidly illuminated in green and yellow tones.  The tour must go on so we re-board our van with Carlos at the wheel, to drive us down Bolivar Street and bring us into one more fascinating corner of Ecuador’s capital, the Street of La Ronda, regarded as the most picturesque, old and traditional street, still keeping, practically intact, the aspect it had some four hundred years ago.

Once again we disembark at a special tourist vehicles parking to begin a stroll down La Ronda street, totally different at night than we had briefly seen it on daylight hours.  The cobble-stoned, strictly pedestrian narrow street is simply charming with its houses nicely restored and their balconies allowing for imagination to think how neighbors could, not only chat across the street, from balcony to balcony; but practically to shake hands over the street….  Each house is a restored architectonic treasure, with their interior courtyards and central fountains…. One of them is famous for its seven interior courtyards… Outside, the ornamental street lamps and abundant illumination create the perfect venue for visitors to stroll back and forth, admiring the houses, most of them converted now into lively restaurants, bars and cafés, offering predominantly local fare and typical drinks…. Other houses host colorful handicraft shops, ateliers and souvenir outlets…. The sound of music, traditional Ecuadorian music, mainly the “pasillos” are the occasion to remember that during various epochs of its long history, La Ronda was the Bohemian street and neighborhood of the Quitenians…

We decide to enter in one of the restaurants. Like all around, they are mostly simple but impeccably clean, graciously hospitable and presenting mouth watering menus of local delicacies: we opt for the delicious “empanadas de viento”, a local classic, big flour empanadas, filled with melting cheese, and, following the tradition, sprinkled with a bit of sugar… The house offers its clients with a warm and delicious “canelazo”, perhaps the most typical Quiteño drink, a nice concoction of hot naranjilla (a local fruit), boiled with cinnamon and, for those who wan,t enriched with a shot of a local aguardiente, brewed from sugar cane… There is of course a non-alcoholic version of the “canelazo” too.. We then savor an equally delicious “locro”, a thick potato soup with cheese and great avocado slices…  Dessert is an assortment of traditional small sweets, such as the colorful, peanut-filled and sugar covered “colaciones”….

But the night had not ended yet…. After enjoying all the charm of La Ronda Street, we make our way, on our van, back to “modern” Quito and head straight to La Mariscal, the present day’s most visited bohemian and party quarter of the city.  We get off at the famous Foch Square, teeming with sidewalk cafes, bars and restaurants, but more so, teeming with people, looking for the best place to spend a good moment of music and fun…. We walk into one of the discotheques of the area, to join a crowd of locals and visitors, dancing the night away to classic rock and pop, mixed with shifts of more tropical salsa and merengue or else the trendy reggetón blasting away….. Quito had shown us its daytime faces as well as its magical yet also cosmopolitan nighttime side, fascinating all the way……

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