South of the main square in Quito is located one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Quito: La Ronda. Recently renovated it has become a center of entertainment and good food for the city. Here you can find many specialty shops and galleries.
One of the oldest streets in Quito but one of the most dynamic ones
The House of Arts. The cultural heart of the neighborhood beats in this house where you can find permanent exhibits of modern art, cinema, and kids’ artistic options. Since it opened to the public in 2007 is has shown the works of several contemporary artists and it is the official stage of the Quito Chiquito Festival (small Quito) which is a demonstration of art created by adults for children. This show takes place every April and May.
Feeling muscular pain? You can find two specialists in the old craft of massage, fixing broken bones and joints. The first is located in the house 920 (Café Musical) and the second one in the house 785. Decades of experience between them, these respected professionals can mend any out-of-place bones.
In another corner (La Ronda and Guayaquil), you can find Picanteria La Ronda. They open their doors at dawn. They serve traditional soups, and it has been said these soups strengthen the nerves, cure weakness and are optimal for fixing the illnesses of a «bad night.» The brave ones can try for example the “Caldo de nervio” which is made out the bull’s sex organ.
Another specialty store is Cereria Jerusalen. It is a factory of traditional religious candles, big candles for processions, made as they were made in the 19th century.
House number 707 today holds three bars and one restaurant. It began its history as a bakery and later became the home of famous musician Alfredo Carpio. In 2007 it opened its doors to a terrific music season.
Over the years, composers, poets, and writers shared long conversations until the wee hours of the morning inside the old houses of La Ronda. Between 1930 y 1940 the poet Jose Carrera Andrade and the writer Augusto Arias would get together in the house 963 owned by Doña Ana Luisa Muñoz with their neighbor Carlos Guerra author of the famous song Esta Guitarra Vieja, nowadays an emblematic song of this neighborhood.
Several houses in this street were built using more intuition rather than architectural blueprints. Most inner courtyards are filled with a curious combination of river stones and cow’s vertebrae. Stone columns are made out of pieces cut to fit together. You can see the old-fashioned tools on the windows frames’ finishing touches (check out house 989), and popular wisdom transformed the walls’ slopes into rooms carved into them.
You can find the delicacies of the Ecuadorian cuisine mixed with live music (house 707, for example, has live music every day). Places like la Leña Quiteña, Esta guitarra vieja, la Negra Mala o El Cafeto offer traditional food while la Casa de los Geranios, Dos Barrios or Tampu offer international food. Another source of income for this neighborhood are handcrafts, and you can find small, simple objects all the way up to author created pieces made with sophisticated materials.
This and other services make this quaint street vibrate with its own rhythm.
A final word of advice. You should try a wind empanada. What is it made of? Cheese, and a lot of air!
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