El Primero Dia en Quito

I woke up on the first day of Plus3 not knowing what to expect of anything that Quito holds for me. I began my day by drinking mystery juice from the hotel breakfast, and with the language barrier there was no way of finding out. This scenario made me realize what my Plus3 Ecuador trip will entail, flexibility, adaptability, and doing things outside my comfort zone. The first journey of the long day was Iglesia de San Francisco, built by Cantunya. Having my previous Greek Orthodox understandings of what beautiful, colorful churches look like, I thought churches were unable to impress me anymore. I walked through the doors of the Catholic church in session of Sunday Mass to find a truly moving sight. I found myself looking at 500+ people sitting in pews facing a floor-to-50 foot-ceiling- golden alter worshipping and practicing their religion. Seeing a collective group of both rich and poor, chanting hymns in Spanish, and gathering together as one, made my body tingle in a realization that this is once in a life time moment, take it all in. We then climbed to the top of the church to be presented with an amazing view of Quito’s houses, mountains, and wildlife.

After that, we walked throughout the Colonial part of Quito. Since it was a Sunday, families were spending time together in the plaza and walking, as most Ecuadorians do on Sundays. I was able to see the daily life of Ecuadorians as well as the business side of things. Vendors were to be seen everywhere selling food, treats, fruits, and beautifully colored cultural items. After walking enough, we visited a chocolate tasting business where we learned the process of making cacao beans usable for chocolate. I had the opportunity to taste 100% chocolate which was very bitter and not tasty. However, I had the best brownie I’ve ever had which was made with 100% chocolate, it was incredible. My favorite flavors were the coffee beans, orange, and cacao nib chocolate bars.

We finished the night with dinner and a hotel hangout sesh. The San Francisco Hotel had a beautiful rooftop setting with tables and views of the mountains and Quito city. That night on to the rooftop we played games, shared laughs, and all bonded in a way we hadn’t before. Overall, the first day was a total success and it was a great time.

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