Wednesday, December 26, 2012

No Boxes for You

Unlike most of Europe, they have not heard of Boxing Day here, so everything is open for business today. Though almost all businesses were engaged in commercial ventures, all cultural places of interest were closed.

Therefore, for the day after Christmas, my true love gave to me two entrance tickets to Casa Del Alabado, which is itself a historic space as a seventeenth-century colonial house located in downtown of Quito, between the San Francisco church and Santa Clara convent. In 2002, it was converted to a luscious museum with archeologically excavated pieces from Ecuador. What a treasure this museum is as are the treasures within. Approximately 5,000 pieces are on display from all cultures that dwelled in the Ecuadorian lands, in the past. Located in Old Town it was not difficult to reach. The layout is easy to navigate and there is sufficient English in each area, one does not feel left out. However, if you are craving more, you can rent an audio tour in English as well as Spanish.

Feeling a bit culturally deprived since leaving Otavalo, we continued on to Museo Ciudad Funcación Museos. The City Museum is part of a cultural service of the Metropolitan District of Quito. Occupying the oldest civil building in Quito, originally called the Mercy Hospital of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it was renamed San Juan de Dios Hospital from 1565-1974 served the community with in-patient as home health services. During the 16th and 17th centuries, it was run by the Brotherhood of the Brotherhood of Charity and Mercy. During the 18th century, the Betlemitas Friars took over expanding the services to hospitality and spiritual comfort but continuing the medical services. Lastly, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Sisters of Charity. As the sign says, “Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, bleeders, gardeners, cooks and laundresses have woven and continue to weave stories and myths that are part of our collective memory.”

We hunted down a vegetarian restaurant called Ari Comida Sana days ago, but they close by 3pm. We returned there today for lunch. It was packed; a good sign. We grabbed the last table. The food was delicious. One woman served the entire place, making the superior service even more impressive.

There is an area that is famous for all of the poets, writers and musicians who were either born or lived on a particular street called La Ronda Calle. Now it has reclaimed the fame as an area where artisans have created spaces for selling their wares. This very steep hilled street has innumerable little stores and workshops running down it, intersperse with restaurants. Disappointingly, most of the shops were closed. We did however find a fine restaurant, Negra Tentacion for an excellent dinner.

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