Our trip began in Quito, Ecuador after a quick stop in Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. From the Quito airport, it was a rocky 90 minute drive to Casa Gangotena, a historic 1920s mansion converted into a 31-room luxury hotel in the old town section of Quito. From the tin ceilings to the winding staircases to the wood panelings, the design elements of the hotel had me gasping at every corner I turned. My room itself was perfectly charming in a soothing color palette with exquisite wallpaper. And how do I not have photos of the marble-clad bathrooms!? Well, they were white, airy, even a bit modern-like, and beautiful. From the hotel's terrace, you get a great aerial view of San Francisco Plaza and the houses on the hills (which actually reminded me very much of our own San Francisco, CA). On the ground floor, there is a little outdoor garden with colorful blooms.
We had a little lunch at the hotel's ground floor restaurant with our guide from Metropolitan Touring before heading out for a walking tour of the city. The huge corn kernels in our sampler were a delight, some almost potato-like. And who doesn't love some good old shrimp empanadas? This meal was pretty indicative of what we'd be having over the next week - lots of soup, lots of ceviche.
Next up, scenes from Quito.