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Turning 30 South American Style With the dreaded 30th birthday looming, I ran away to South America to celebrate the landmark birthday in style.

Quito

ECUADOR | Thursday, 24 July 2008 | Views [728]

Lovely white washed historic Quito is easily one of the loveliest colonial cities in Latin America, but a total ghost town at night as residents hurry home to bolt their doors against the violent reputation of the city. It is a real shame as it could be a spectacular place, beautifully restored and you can watch the artists at work brushing up the frescos in the church or climbing up ramshackle scaffolding to paint the clock towers on government buildings.

We stayed in the old town with a beautiful view from our window taking in three historic churches, all lamp lit at night giving the town a creamy glow. By day we wandered around having coffees, looking at the impressive buildings, strolling through the library and cultural center and enjoying bustle.

The historic center is filled with little cafes and we found one really good one attached to the theater which did lovely coffee and fresh bread where you could sit for an hour or two and read the papers.

But come night fall, all that was open was a handful of tourist restaurants, all next door to each other in the same heavily guarded arcade. The fear of violence that prevents normal residents from venturing into the center at night makes it difficult to open restaurants and bars.

With very little open, it made more sense to grab a few beers and hang out of our window watching the world go by below.

Tags: churches, colonial architecture, ecuador, equador, frescos., latin america, quito, south america

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