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Dominic Monaghan in Quito

Dominic Monaghan shot by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Dominic Monaghan is best known for his roles in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and on the television series Lost.

His new travel-adventure show, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, premieres on January 22 on BBC America.

Here, he shares his trip to Quito, Ecuador.

 

As an actor, I travel a lot, and I relish the opportunity to explore and get lost in different parts of the world. I’ve seen so many places, and they all have their own unique story. Take Quito, the Ecuadorian capital I visited in November 2011 to shoot an episode of my new TV series, Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan.

Sitting on an active volcano in the Andes Mountains 9,300 feet above sea level, Quito has a population of about 2.5 million and is at once cosmopolitan and old-school. It’s also very, very colorful. A sea of vibrant reds, yellows, blues and greens seems to cover everything from residents’ clothing to wares hawked by street vendors.

We stayed at La Posada Colonial, a quaint hostel in the old town—the historic center of Quito and one of the best-preserved historic centers in the Western hemisphere. Many of the colonial buildings in the area date back to the 18th and 19th centuries and today house the city’s government offices. If you’re lucky enough to visit Quito’s UNESCO-certified old town, don’t miss Independence Square, dotted with palms and other flora and flanked by the Gothic-Mudéjar-style cathedral and the grand Presidential Palace, among other buildings.

Another must-see in old town is a hill called El Panecillo, on top of which sits the famous Virgin of Quito statue and PIM’s Panecillo, a great lunch spot. The hill also offers amazing views of Volcano Cotopaxi and the rest of the city.

At night, we ventured out into the streets of old town, which are lined with restaurants cooking delicious plantains, rice, beans, grilled meats and plenty of chilies. As the light faded, younger adults came out, their scooters filling the streets.

Buskers arrived as well, and their music became our soundtrack as we happily got lost while wandering down the area’s nameless roads.

I felt like I could stay on those streets forever, but I’ll just have to return someday to drink more of the fantastic local wine, listen to the music and get lost again and again. //

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