Of all Quito parks - except for the mini in front of El Buen Pastor - Itchimbia claims the most safety with its guards and fence. Lights from the crystal building draw attention to its attractiveness after dark. Sometimes strobe lights pierce the night sky for specific celebrations.
Itchimbia Park and Cultural Complex beckons from the east hill of the colonial center at 134 E8 Jose Maria Aguirre Street. Sigcholahua Volcano rises in the distance.
It overlooks the centro historico in a panoramic view as spectacular as El Cielo Quiteno Restaurant nearby.
Itchimbia evolved from an impressive hacienda before the mid-twentieth century.
A commercial TV station made its debut here as Channel 6.
Itchimbia supplies medicinal herbs for the colonial center just like a drugstore.
This lush estate on the hill takes pains to make itself safe and easily accessible to everyone, especially the handicapped, senior citizens and pregnant women for recreational and educational activities.
It serves the children best with many areas for different educational activities and fun, offering weekend entertainment and workshops.
Special meetings such as the recent voting for the best places in South America are held here. An evening with special lighting brought enjoyment to those privileged to attend.
Closing time presents sunset dining either inside the locked gates at Pim's Restaurant or El Cielo Quiteno a few steps away from the entrance to Itchimbia Park.
Pim's Restaurant by the Crystal Palace very elegantly dishes out a homey feel with what I personally discovered - first-class food and service, but I prefer the food at Cielo Quiteno.
El Ejido ushers in its famous mercado from Otavalo and displays for sale some of its large inventory of art every weekend. Attentive artists sit by, and if you don't see what you want, an order from you will bring it the following weekend.
The same goes for the mercado. Always it's, "Que desiaba?", which translates, "What do you desire?" Or they may greet you with, "A la orden," which translates "At your service" or "Order what you wish," as in, "Your wish is my command."
Indulging in games and/or sports by both children and adults never ends. Locals spend leisurely days here on weekends and every chance they get.
Parque El Ejido connects easily from Centro Historico by trolley, taxi - or - a 25-minute brisk walk that I find very invigorating.
Across the street, the landmark hotel, Colon Hilton, cooks up excellent dining and offers great restrooms with toilet paper!
Parque Carolina spreads between Las Amazonas and Shyris Avenues in the heart of this amazing city.
Fiesta parades often begin and/or end on Shyris.
This creation of the many excellent Quito parks secretly hides behind El Jardin (the Garden) Mall. The vast area here offers different sports areas, biking and walking trails, a skateboarding place and much more,
like the Botanical Garden that opens from 9 AM to 5 PM every day except Monday, when it shuts its doors at 12:30 PM.
You're surrounded by myriads of flora for the senses to feast on.
I prefer to go it alone, but a guided tour - not mandatory - can really enhance your visit.
Next door, the Museum of Natural Science, which only opens on weekends, 9 to 2, draws you into yet another period in time.
In this spacious Quito area, there's room for a wide range of sports and games for children ages 5 to 85, but when children get bored, they get inventive.
Then, again, leisure provides leisure in places made for leisure.
The man-made river pond comes alive with paddle boating - where you can sit, watch and enjoy - or paddle. I enjoy watching the children that come after school, but, again, caution always remains mandatory.
Alameda Park and Observatory...not far from the colonial center... neighbors El Ejido.
President Gabriel Garcia Moreno, himself, chose this site in 1870, because of its excellent geographic position and altitude - making Quito an ideal place to study the heavens.
Together with the National School of Politechnics, he entrusted one of its first professors with overseeing the construction and direction of the project.
It took seven years to complete, having brought all the equipment necessary on the backs of mules.
Finished in 1877 - 2 years after Garcia Moreno died, assassinated - in the midst of political turbulence - it began its function in 1878.
In 1875 a new telescope - still in use - came into focus literally.
Images from this observatory explode on the internet.
Another point of interest that Garcia Moreno took the initiative to have constructed - the 1870 Botanical Garden of Alameda - no longer exists.
A Jesuit priest took over, and at that time more than 12,000 species of plants, shrubs, trees, etc. made up the collection. Plants and trees still remain as footprints of the past.
A little "river" with rowboat rentals for a small fee offers you a splash, and the locals picnic anywhere in the enormous area often.
A liesurely morning stroll to relax or a brisk walk for exercise wakes the senses leaving your indelible footprints here for future memory reference.
From El Churro - the name of the mirador - or man made lookout point - you get an overview and a great place to shoot photos at no charge.
The trolley runs regularly around this area in case you want to give it a whirl to anywhere on its route.
Lots of locals and students hang out here. A strolling local personally warned me to watch my belongings carefully - even though the only visible belonging I had on me was my cheap digital camera.
As in any country, there's safety in numbers, and the no-brainer, don't carry valuables.
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