Friday, April 28, 2006


Capilla del Hombre

The Capilla del Hombre museum is built on two levels with an opening up through the center to the dome, that can be seen from the outside. The work, all done by Guayasamin, is very large for the most part. Guyasamin depicted the misery and injustice of the world, especially of the indigenous populations of Ecuador. The work is emotional and very dramatic. Emily was telling me that despite his fame and a certain national pride, Guayasamin is controversial and many Ecuadoreans dislike his depiction of their people and culture as being downtrodden and oppressed.

Inside the dome.

And, on the softer side, this sculpture called "Family". The painting is probably Guayasamin's most famous and is a tribute to his mother. It is called "Tenderness".


Eating out in Quito

We always enjoy finding new restaurants in Quito and revisiting those that we love. Several come to mind as I think about eating in Ecuador. Unfortunately, we don't have any photos of these places. We are always too busy eating to take pictures.

On every trip, we wind up eating one or more meals at Crepes and Waffles. This is a chain from Columbia and there are several of them in Quito. They are popular for business lunches and family outings. The large mid-day meal is Almuerzo. Visiting C & W during this time usually requires a wait. They have great salads, sandwiches, and crepe dishes. They also have huge wild and crazy ice cream desserts. The food is very tasty, the portions are large, and you can depend on sanitized fresh fruit and vegetables. I have to mention, though, that last year our friend, Muriel, found a live slug in her salad. I guess that indicates a lack of pesticides. They were very gracious and made it right for us. That has not deterred us from ordering salads on return visits. We are, however, pretty watchful.

We went to a great Italian Restaurant, however I can’t remember the name. Also, Em & Cayo took us to the only brew-pub in Quito, the Turtles Head Pub. It is styled after a British pub. The décor is great and the beer selection is good. They also have decent snacks. Andy and I played a few games of pool with Cayo. It was fun. We also met friends of Emily at a Pizza restaurant one night.

Quito has a wide assortment of restaurants that feature food from Cuba, Mexico, Italy, France, the US, and many more. And, of course, there are establishments that feature traditional Ecuadorian fare. There are a growing number of American fast food franchises (McD, KFC, etc.) Needless to say, we don’t spend valuable tourist time and $ in those establishments.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Guaysamin Home and Museum

Ecuador's most famous artist is Oswaldo Guayasamin, who died in 1999. (self-portrait at right) His influence in Ecuador is vast and his work has been exhibited around the world. He is virtually unknown in the United States, probably because of his friendship with, and support of, Castro. At the time of his death he was midway through the construction of a grand museum called the Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man) high up on a hillside overlooking Quito.

His last home and studio are a bit further up the hill from the museum and we started there, wandering around the grounds, looking at his sculptures, his cars and some of his collection of Spanish mission bells.

From the house, we made our way down the hill toward the museum, stopping along the way to admire a Pre-columbian, Mayan sculpture, collected by Guayasamin, the beautiful view of Quito and a new sculpture on the grounds of the museum. I believe this piece is representative of the death of an indigenous leader at the hands (and horses) of the Spanish. This piece is not by Guayasamin, but was commissioned for the museum. I don't know the name of the artist—wish I did.

Tomorrow I'll post pictures of the Chapel of Man museum.

Saturday, April 22, 2006



The day after we returned from Cuenca it looked like it would be relatively rain-free, so we decided to take a trip on the Teleferico. The Teleferico is a gondola ride in Northern Quito which takes you from 8800 feet elevation to over 12,000 feet. The upper end of the ride is near the summit of Pichincha, the nearest volcanic peak in the Andes. It was built just last year and is much nicer than many of the commercial establishments in Ecuador.

While it was not raining, clouds and mist compromised the view of the city and surrounding mountains. But, it was still an outstanding trip. At the top, Andy, Emily, and I took a hike up a trail toward the summit, but poor Terry suffered too much from the altitude to join us. It was fairly cold and an effort was required just to breathe. Cayo had to work and could not go along, but he and Emily had ridden it before on a much clearer day.

To the right is a photo of the peak of Pichincha, which is an active volcano.

At the bottom of the ride was a carnival and at the top we found cafes, shops, and folk musicians.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Images of Cuenca

Before we leave Cuenca, I want to just leave you with a few more images of this beautiful city.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006



Our last day in Cuenca, we wanted to take the Molina family out to eat. We asked them to suggest a restaurant and they all thought we needed a nice Cuy lunch before we left Ecuador.

I have to tell you I had avoided Cuy on my previous four visits to Ecuador, but the time had come to sample the local delicacy. Cuy (pronounced Kwee) is guinea pig. We went to a restaurant renowned for their cuy, but we also ordered a platter of chicken.

This is a roast cuy. You can see the little feet. Chela pointed out to Ray, that these make convenient little handles for eating the cuy with one's fingers. You can't see the head in this picture, but trust me, it was there.

How did it taste? Well—you expected me to say "like chicken," didn't you? Some people think it tastes like rabbit. I've never eaten rabbit, so I can't compare. It tasted a bit like duck to me—a little stringy, very boney, but the crispy skin was quite tasty. Andy just couldn't bring himself to try it, but the rest of us managed to reduce it to a pile of teeny, tiny bones.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Artesa Factory

One of the places we like to shop in Ecuador is a store called Artesa. They make and sell a variety of ceramic items. We have bought dishes, vases, and even a hanging ceramic light fixture. We originally discovered their main retail store in downtown Cuenca. Later, we found an Artesa store in the QuiCentro mall in Quito.

We knew there was a factory in Cuenca and, this year, we compelled Cayo to take us there. We piled in a small yellow taxi and headed for the outskirts of town. It was much larger than I expected. Where we entered was a very nice gallery with art pieces. Senor Vega started the company originally but has since sold it. He has his own gallery and workshop in Cuenca where he makes very nice original pieces. (see Terry’s prior post regarding the Vega gallery.) In the gallery of the Artesa plant were a number of original pieces by señor Vega.

The people at the factory were very nice and hospitable. A lady gave us a complete tour of the factory.

We saw the piles of raw clay and the crafting of the basic shapes. Then they fire them in an oven and all the items are hand painted. The final firing sets the colors. They obviously produce a high volume and we were told that they ship them to the US and a couple of other countries in addition to the Ecuadorian distribution.

At the end of the tour we were taken to an area with a long rack that contained rejects. For some designs, there were just a few pieces and for others there were many. Any item in this area could be purchased for a dollar. We bought these four small bowls from the discount rack.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Eduardo Vega Gallery

Cuenca is well known for ceramics. Probably the best known ceramics artist in Ecuador is Eduardo Vega. His beautiful gallery sits on a hill called Turi that overlooks Cuenca with an expansive view. There is also a lovely church at Turi and interesting painted murals all around. Our son-in-law, Cayo, painted one of the murals at Turi, that was featured in a guidebook for Ecuador.

Vega has done many ceramic murals throughout Ecuador, as well as the small pieces he is known for. This mural is in the courtyard at the entrance to the gallery. Below is a picture I took of Emily and Cayo the first time we visited the gallery.

We have bought quite a few pieces in this gallery in the several times we have visited. The colors and forms are irresistable.

Inside the gallery there is a window from which you can view the workroom below. You can see sections of a large mural that is being made.

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