A post from Not Your Average American alerted M to a different part of Centro Histórico for us to explore. San Marco is near the old centre but has a very different feel as there are still many people living in the area, and businesses are very low key. Many of the houses in Junin Street had tiles with photos of previous inhabitants and some words about their lives. Predictably, M found un bar de cerveza artesenal, Sirka, for us to visit while we were exploring. Sirka is a great location to visit for beers, food (we only tried the hommus, but that was good) and quirky artwork.
Our first introduction to Ecuador’s most famous artist was quite fitting for this post-postmodern world – great t-shirts. Although we didn’t realise until later, the fabulous images were the work of Oswaldo Guayasamin. In Quito you can visit Capilla del Hombre, which is Guayasamin’s home / studio, and a chapel he designed to pay hommage to humankind. This is a wonderful location to visit, not only to view his art but also see his art collection (pre-Columbian, colonial and the work of international artists like Picasso, Goya and Chagal) and his house, with great views across the city.
We thought we’d go for a weekend stroll in La Floresta – and hit the jackpot! This weekend is ‘La Madre de las Ferias’ (‘the mother of all fairs’ says google translate), a fact we stumbled on while having morning coffee and noticing an interesting map in the window showing the cafes, artists studios and shops in the area. La Floresta is celebrating 100 years (and mother’s day fairs seem to be a thing) and many of the businesses were promoting their wares, providing tastings and generally being welcoming. We bought some produce at El Salinerito, and I want to go back to Fui, which recycles bike tyres and billboards into really cool things. So many amazing walls to admire too.
North of La Floresta there’s an area (suburb) called Guápolo. On Mayday ( a holiday here) we went for a walk hoping to find the local park, not realising just how steep the descent would be. We got half way down the valley and decided to turn back as we could see a major storm approaching. The place had such a different feel to anywhere else we’ve been in Quito so far. Old, established, scenic but also precarious, perched on the side of the valley.
Some pics from Sunday’s Shinjuku shoppping – it was wet but we still had a fab day.
too wet to stop and take a proper pic
Odakyu – my new favourite department store
To complete the day, beers at the Baird Beer Tap Room in Harajuku
Our last couple of days temperature-wise have been cold and wet. On Monday we spent the morning in catching up on some planning (aka staying warm and dry), and in the afternoon headed out to Shimokitazawa. It was six degrees and raining when we left – it didn’t warm up much after that, but at least the rain stopped. And the trains have good heating, as do the shops – and the toilet seats (love it!). This area is great for interesting vintage and new clothes/design shops. There was even a decent craft beer bar.
On our last day in Chiang Mai, we took things at a leisurely pace. We tried the Free Bird Cafe, which raises money for Burmese refugees, and visited the Warorot Market. We also took a red taxi ride to Nimmanhaemin Road for dinner. We found an Italian restaurant, which was great for a change of culinary style. Why Not?
From Mandalay it’s an easy flight to Chiang Mai – just over an hour. Not a lot of leg room on the Bangkok Air ATR72500 (little plane), but luckily there was no one sitting in front of us so no danger of reclining seats causing knee incapacitation.
For our first few nights on this return visit to CM we stayed on the Thapae Gate side of the city – which which just happens to be the right side for some craft beer venues. We enjoyed good food, beer and people viewing at Riverside Bar and it’s sister venue across the road, Craft Beer Factory. And riding and wandering around the streets of the Old Town.