Looking for ideas for a day in Quito, I came across the neighbourhood of La Floresta. The various reports I found sounded very enthusiastic. I discovered that it was only half an hour walk from the place I was lodged at, which made it even better. I just love to walk through cities, as I am convinced that it is the best way to discover a place. So, I set off around midday, under a partly cloudy sky. I navigate busy streets, and some quieter ones, until I come to Plaza Artigas, where several avenues come together. On the other side, La Floresta starts. Now, I have only seen some pictures and read some suggestions, so I decide to just criss-cross the neighbourhood by chance. I continue walking La Coruña street, and as soon as I turn right in to a smaller street, I feel I am entering a different part of Quito.
Traffic is thin in La Floresta, so I can easily cross streets, take pictures, enjoy the things I see without noise or pollution. At first, I mostly see trendy restaurants, but I soon start to notice square flowerpots on the street which are painted on all sides. I kneel to take close-up pictures of pumas, flowers, women, buildings, and many other subjects painted with bright colours on the concrete pots that would otherwise have been dull objects. Then, I see the ruins of what must have been a beautiful house on the corner of Valladolid and Vizcaya. On the fence, there are so many posters and paintings that it takes me a while to read everything and admire the quite varied art. Posters with political messages, statements about society and the world, as well as several wall paintings.
When I turn around, I see colourful flowers on a mural of the famous Ocho y Medio cinema, which also boosts one of the famous cafes of La Floresta. Close by, I find another famous cafe where I buy coffee as a present, and ask where to find the street art for which La Floresta is famous. The woman sends me to various streets, and I find many more murals and posters. Some of them big, where I spend minutes to grasp the often busy and complicated artwork. Then, there are more posters, some of which I have seen before, some of which are unique. More statements, one big mural about abortion rights, but also impressive paintings of female eyes, flowers growing out of the head of a woman. Paintings which make me smile, posters which are concerning. I like the area so much, I am back for more the next day. Indeed, I discover yet more art, some huge, some small. And the small market with fresh produce. All the while, I have the feeling I am in an undiscovered area of this big city in the Andes.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from La Floresta (Ecuador). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to La Floresta. Read more about this site.