This amazing city, the capital of Ecuador, ended up being a surprise. Not that I had expected it to be ugly, or boring, or uncultured, but because I had no expectations. I knew absolutely nothing about the city.

What I found was a huge, colorful, exciting place filled with art, history, and beauty. I have never seen so much art everywhere–street artists, murals, carvings, music. The beautiful traditional dress of the different indigenous groups, the architecture, and the natural beauty of the city.

The churches are lovingly cared for and full of visitors and believers; museums and galleries are free so that everyone can enjoy the amazing art on display; and street vendors sell fresh fruit and vegetables everywhere.

Wherever you look, there is art. We saw very little trash–next to none–but every wall is covered in murals or graffiti. Artists seem to respect each other. I saw almost no instances of one graffiti artist spraying over the work of another.

What we saw was gentleness, care, respect. Being a big city, Quito isn’t without issues. We were warned of pickpockets, and a police officer told me that someone was following me as I wandered around, taking pictures. I was more self-aware after that. Nothing actually happened, and I didn’t feel unsafe or threatened at any time.

I left with a huge respect for the Ecuadorians and their wonderful culture. I will write another post about the birds we encountered in another part of the country. This is a place I can’t wait to visit again.

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