January 11th, 2018
Our second day in Ecuador continued in the town of El Quinche. It is located northeast of Quito between Puembo (our hosteria or hotel) and Guayllabamba, and east Mariscal Sucre International Airport. This town is notable for a church.
After the Spanish conquest, Catholicism became the predominant religion. El Santuario de El Quinche is known for an annual mass pilgrimage. It begins in Calderón at night and ends in the town of El Quinche on the morning of the 21st of November. This is in honor of La Virgen de El Quinche who made apparitions to save a community of oyacachenses from a plague of ferocious bears in the 16th century. She proposed to help if the inhabitants converted to Catholicism. Inspired and full of hope, the townspeople constructed a shrine in the cave where La Virgen de El Quinche made the apparition. Miraculously the bears were never to be seen again. For over 400 years, the pilgrimage has been a tradition.
Bizcochos de Cayambe
On our way back to our hostería in Puembo, we made a pitstop in Cayambe. This town is known for their bizcochos or “twice-baked bread.” When the spaniards arrived in Ecuador in the 16th century, they required a bread that would last for days while traveling; hence, the bizcocho became a staple in their diet. The traditional way of baking the cookies is in a coal fired brick oven two times; the second round makes them crispy. The bizcocho is usually eaten together with caramelized milk and “queso de hoja” (cheese). Two brown bags of bizcochos, a dulce de leche (caramelized milk), and a bag of queso de hoja was about 10 U.S. dollars. Ecuador uses U.S. dollars so if you ever visit, there’s no need to exchange currency.
Stay tuned for our next blog post! Our journey continues south of Quito and we tour the regions of Machachi, see sights of the Cotopaxi Volcano, and continue to visit rose farms.