Finn in Quito, Ecuador

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

A stairway to heaven?

Finn in Quito

As I write this, I am enjoying a coffee (decaf), a passion fruit, and an excellent view in Quito, Ecuador. My mom and I have been in Quito doing Spanish lessons to freshen up on the language. For our first week in Quito, we stayed with a local family. My dad arrived from Chile a week ago.

Finn, framing a photo from one of the basilica’s towers

We both did 1 on 1 Spanish lessons with local Quito teachers for five hours a day. We worked on grammar, conversation and also played games. Our teachers were excellent and knew what they were doing.

The classes really helped me get my Spanish back up to the level it was at before. The Spanish school offered free salsa class lessons as well as cooking classes and weekly excursions. The school was inside a colonial-era building with lovely hardwood floors and multiple large classrooms. Overall, going to the ISE Spanish School was a great experience.

Exploring in the City

We have spent a lot of time visiting the city itself. Looking at the city’s many markets is delightful. Some filled with crops and meat, others filled with alpaca blankets, handbags and shoes, (I have already treated my self to a messenger bag and a funky pair of shoes). Tasting all the different exotic fruit and veg has been fun. I have tried many fruits and plants including delicious sugarcane, a lot of blackberries, gooseberries and the sapote (sapodilla).

The wonderful sights of Quito include the gondola (that brings you up to 4000 meters), the many parks, the Basilica and the Panecillo (the Virgin Mary statue protecting Quito). These are all must do’s.

The gondola is excellent and, if you’re up to it, a lovely hike awaits you at the top. You may come down the mountain on the gondola, or book a horseback riding or mountain biking tour. Going up the gondola (Click: teléferiQo) does get the heart going. It’s a wonderful adventure and I would definitely recommend it!

Quito is filled with many very beautiful parks, all of which often contain statues, markets, exercise and playground equipment. These parks fill the city and definitely make Quito more attractive.

Lots of fun public art in Quito (lot’s of rain, too, this time of year)

The basilica and the Panecillo are two religious sites you do not want to miss.

The basilica towers are open seven days a week for all to go up, that’s right, you can walk inside and up the basilica towers. Its official name is The Basilica del Voto Nacional as it was funded by wealthy families. The most interesting features of the building are the Ecuadorian animals that have replaced the traditional gargoyles!

My father and I went and enjoyed an amazing view of the whole city. It was great fun but you needed to climb ladders to get up the top half.

Travelling further out of Quito

The Panecillo is a mountain on which is situated a massive sculpture of The Virgin Mary. The statue depicts her overlooking Quito with one arm out while crushing a snake (symbolizing the devil) under her feet.

The area around the statue is not considered the safest area in the city and we were told to go with a group or by taxi. However, it is not something you want to miss. There are little stores nearby selling delicious Ecuadorian drinks and snacks. It is truly a spectacular view of the city.

The statue of Mary at night

Quito is a culture filled, fun, upbeat city that is a must see in Ecuador. It is a beautiful capital, with so many great things to see and to do. I am very happy I had the opportunity to visit this city again. Given another chance to return, I definitely would. Check out more content on Twomey Travel to see when my Dad will be doing tours down south.

Here I am helping to cook Fanesca – a 12-grain soup, eaten during Easter (Semana Santa!)

Stay tuned for some food blogs!

Dad and I tried and (sort of) enjoyed intestines one evening

Finn Twomey

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