Today’s Thirsty Thursdays takes me back to December 2010 on my travels when I stayed in the Old Town of Quito in Ecuador. I simply loved the local charm of the Old Town in Quito and was staying at the quite excellent Colonial House Hotel. A four storey terraced house turned into a hostel. All very cosy and on arrival I met a girl from the USA called Erin who was working there. When I said to her that it was my first time in the city, she offered to take me round and after doing a heap of sightseeing, we headed to La Ronda to relax over a few drinks.
La Ronda is pretty. It is Quito’s Oldest District. It is proudly Ecuadorian and if you want to sample real life as it happens in Ecuador, this seems like the place. My Thirsty Thursday experience in Quito was a lot more local and cultured than your average visit to the pub for a pint! I was immediately in love with this vibrant array of cool bars littered along these poky cobbled streets, bunged symmetrically with Ecuadorian and Quito flags to show that these people love their own city. This was my place – away from a commercial world that waits outside…
So I don’t remember the exact name of the bar we went to but it was in La Ronda, it was busy and it was small, poky and atmospheric. Erin used her excellent Spanish to secure us a table and we ordered from the menu. When in Quito, try Canelazo.
What is Canelazo?
It’s an alcoholic drink made from Aguardiente (a spirit made from sugar cane) and this is then mixed with fruit juice and served hot to form a delicious refreshingly sweet cocktail. I opted for Naranjilla flavour (a juicy South American orange!).
Where can you drink Canelazo?
It should be noted that although these drinks can be bought outside of South America, there is nothing in the world like drinking them in the country they are native to. Canelazos belong to Colombia, Ecuador and also Peru.
I loved them, and indeed sampled a few more in my jaunt round South America. On this night in Quito, I munched empanadas with it. There was the added bonus of paintings around the walls of this cosy bar – adding a lot of decent decor to the entire experience. Taking it all in and sampling it was a joy!
While sipping the sweet and fruity Canelazo, a band come into the room and start banging out local music. it’s fantastic. For a moment I stopped and realised how much I love the travel lifestyle. It was a really happy travel moment. The band played for a while and I chatted at length to Erin about her life and how she ended up living in Quito and becoming immersed in Ecuadorian culture.
So in short – Quito was a great city to visit, cheap and cheerful and oozing with charms for the average traveller. Going to La Ronda around 6pm for a Canelazo is something I would totally recommend. My thanks to Erin for taking me round the city. On life’s odd corridor, I never saw her again, but these are the joys of travel and this is one cherished existence we have my friends…
Having a Naranjilla Canelazo in La Ronda, Quito, Ecuador:
Walking round La Ronda in Quito, Ecuador:
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