My final 48 hours in Ecuador was spent in the capital city called Quito. Between checking in, checking out, bus transfers and rides to the airport, my “tourism time” was limited so I’m going to wrap it ip in one post.
Although it was a short visit, my adorable accommodations made for the perfect hideaway from the busy streets surrounding it. The Butterfly Hostel is a combination of rooms for temporary guests and apartment styled living for extended stays.
The kitchen was useful and the common area was overflowing with vibrant colors.
The owner Diana is beyond welcoming, almost instantly feeling like family. She helped with directions, local eats and “anything needed”. Thank you for the wonderful conversations and warm greetings!
Exiting the hostel took me on a fun walk through the popular neighborhood called Mariscal, otherwise known as the tourist district or “gringolandia”. I really didn’t spend too much time exploring here because my ultimate goal for the day was to get to the equator.
My trek of reaching the equator consisted of a walk to the metro that dropped me off at the terminal to board the bus to the final transfer leading me to the “Metad de Mundo”. (Middle of the world -aka- the equator). Due to the crowded journey and not so safe areas, the pictures I captured along the way were minimal.
These are the only two photos I snagged. First, a woman selling chocolate covered strawberries topped with a marshmallow. I have yet to mention how much they love their marshmallows here!
To my knowledge, this isn’t a typical sight but it made me instantly say in my head, “In case of an emergency, please use as a flotation device”.
As I finally made it to the entrance of the park, I was fully prepared for the mobs of tourists and families that would be following the guides.
Hmm, looks like I have the place to myself. I actually felt a little awkward walking around this huge park as one of the only visitors.
Most of the store tenants that I passed appeared to be so eager to see another human, that it almost felt mandatory to stop and look at every shop. Even harder to say “no gracias” to all of them.
I made it!
They say it’s hard to walk in a straight line on the equator, turns out standing on your hands is easier!
On the way back I treated myself to a frozen yogurt, just my size! Can you imagine a chain shop in the states trying to stay in business selling this option?
I now leave Quito with a major announcement to all of the people who know and share my love for frozen desserts. An Ecuadorian traditional delight has now topped my list over ice cream, gelato and brace yourself… Even better than frozen yogurt!
Helado de Paila means “ice cream from a copper pan.” Sugar, pure fruit pulp, and egg whites are placed in a brass pan, which is on a bed of ice, sea salt and straw (to slow down the melting of the ice). The pan must be previously prepared by boiling it for three days with ash and bitter orange. The ingredients are then stirred as long as necessary to make the mixture freeze.
This simple but time consuming process develops what I can best describe as the creamiest snow cone mixed with the iciest frozen yogurt. My favorite part is the extremely cold, firm texture that prevents it from instantly melting in the South American sun.
I preferred the non traditional flavors that included but wasnt limited to chocolate and my personal favorite of vanilla. I devoured mine with so much enjoyment that I forgot to take a picture! Here are a few I found online. Introducing Helado de Paila!
Well that’s it for now Ecuador, next stop is Peru!
Travelers tip: I highly suggest not going on a city search for Piala the day of your flight out of the country… Without a map! I barely found my way back before heading to the airport. Oops.