Quite the Quito!
We are lucky to belong to a fabulous neighbourhood in Pickering, Ontario. Our street is filled with amazing people who are very kind and giving. Our direct neighbours to the North of our house come from Ecuador. When Victor and Martha heard we were going to Quito, they contacted their family and made arrangements for us to stay with them
At 2:00am Diego Gonzalez picked us up at the airport….and since we could not speak Spanish and he doesn’t speak English, it was a fun time of hand signals and Google translate to help us communicate. His wife Alexandra and kids Taty (15) and Martin (4) were warm and welcoming and excited to show us their beautiful country. Lucky for us both Alex and Taty spoke excellent English and helped us communicate and have a great time together! Now we just have to improve our Spanish!
Of course one of the first places they brought us was to the equator – the middle of the world city!!
The monument of the equator was quite striking and it was fun to straddle the line and balance the ball on our hands. There is also a great interactive science centre within the monument with all types of interactive experiments to demonstrate how the equator was determined. There was also lots of historical and cultural information on the first Geodesica mission in 1736 to help determine the science behind the equator (the shape of the earth – flat at the poles etc..)…lots of fascinating ideas and theories. The equator is an imaginary 5 km strip around the globe that separates the Northern and Southern hemispheres. On June 21st the sun hits the yellow line directly. The whole encounter brought back memories of Greenwich, England when we visited the Prime Meridian. We have now been on 0 degrees longitude and latitude!
At night, we visited the historical centre of Quito so we could see the lights fantastic! It was simply gorgeous and was declared a Unesco World Heritage Sight in 1978 so all of the buildings and plazas are protected.
The buildings were simply beautiful! Including a church made out of gold, the Parliament buildings, the President’s Palace and much more.
There is also a neat street to wander called La Ronde…..a pedestrian street where artists and musicians entertain the crowds.
The Gonzalez family also brought us to see the beautiful town of Otavalo. It is a picturesque ville with a beautiful lake and volcanoes in the near vicinity. Alexandra mentioned that many couples honeymoon here due to it’s stunning beauty!
This is also where the girls began their training with their trompes (tops). Diego was a master top player and shared many of his tips and tricks. We will need to keep practicing to improve!
Another interesting thing we discovered in Otavalo was that all the women wear their cultural outfits wherever they go. They are made up of brightly embroidered white blouses, dark skirts and wide embroidered belts. It was lovely to see the festive and colourful outfits!
Throughout our time with the family, we played lots of different card games and even played them in Spanish! It was lots of fun and a great way for the kids to bond with new friends.
We feel so lucky to have stayed with the Gonzalez family. They are a warm and hospitable bunch who opened the door to their home and their hearts! We cannot wait to have them visit with us in Canada! We have promised to learn more Spanish by the time they visit– we will hold them to their promise to see our country! And then we will compare Ecuadorian and Canadian cervesas!