Walking through the narrow and charming street of La Ronda in Quito is sort of like a dream, the old Spanish style houses that the Old Town is known for are still preserved. Small balconies can be seen with their geraniums overflowing their pastel colored houses. At night the street is full of life, lights illuminate the path, traditional music is playing, but there is also “salsa” that can be heard when passing through the night bars in the area. The strong smell of “canelazo”, a typical drink that has cinnamon, naranjilla and alcohol fiercely enters through your nose when a lady waves a glass of it near your face and giant and slightly greasy “wind empanadas” make your mouth water.
In the daylight, La Ronda is different, there is a silence that accompanies it, few people walk through its cobbled street and the experience is completely different. At night, people dance, bars are open and music is always playing. But in the day, the bohemian and artistic style that characterized the street in the 30s is evident. La Ronda back in those days saw many important Ecuadorian musicians, painters and poets arise. The street now is full craft shops, art schools, restaurants and traditional craftsmen who still make the old spinning tops; but it has not lost its traditional essence.
Despite the strong Spanish influence, it is one of the oldest streets in the city. It already existed in 1480 when the Incas arrived. It is a clear vestige of the original indigenous city of Quitu (as it was known before being founded by the Spanish in 1534 and known now as the town of San Francisco de Quito).
The bohemian paved road now holds more modern business, but they remain unique in their experience. Like the ice cream shop “Dulce Placer” that quite untraditional flavors. You can, however, taste more common flavors like vanilla or strawberry but if you are feeling adventurous there are also flavors such as: Fanesca, an alcoholic drink called “Pájaro Azul”, “dog poo”, avocado, popcorn and Cuba Libre…
Inside the shop, the customers smile and seem excited, some laugh at the flavors, others are confused. The ice cream man behind the counter seems to enjoy these interactions and reprehends those whom arrive with an ice cream that does not come from the store. He ensures them that his ice cream is the best.