Tag Archives: Presidential Palace

Thursday in Quito

Jun 13 – Today we ventured into the Centro Historico, or historical part of the city. Around the main plaza are the Presidential Palace and official buildings.

We heard the municipal band play some snappy marches:

…and admired the talents of some street buskers:

This guy was the best. His puppet dancing partner was attached to his hands and feet, and he really made her shimmy!

Of course, there were plenty of churches, displaying all the gold and art that were not in evidence at the Basilica yesterday.

Adoration of the Magi

Jesus presented at the temple

My favorite painting showed Jesus literally sending a message to Saul at Damascus – too bad Saul was blind and couldn’t read it!

Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?

Many of the churches were museums, with no worshipers in evidence, but one active church, El Sagrario, suffered from loose floorboards, and every step sounded like a herd of buffalo stampeding by. I felt sorry for those trying to pray in such a noisy space!

We admired an exhibit of small Salvador Dali sketches:

We visited a monastery and learned the story of Santa Mariana de Jesús, who was the first-ever Ecuadorian saint. She sacrificed herself to save Quito during a plague in the 1600s (could not find an explanation on how her dying saved the city from germs…)

Unusual to see wooden cloisters instead of stone

We ate an excellent lunch – hot, freshly cooked, and served with delicious cantaloupe juice to drink! Before we knew it, we had walked all the way across town to behold the Virgin Of El Panecillo, the largest aluminum statue of Mary in the world, and the only one with wings.

Most tourists are content to admire the statue from the foot of the hill, but you know Jim wasn’t having any of that. If there are steps to be climbed…

The Virgin up close in her winged glory, standing on a snake.

When we finally reached the pedestal, we could see there was a chapel inside. We stepped in, only to be offered the opportunity to climb up to an even higher viewing balcony at the statue’s feet, for only one dollar. Hah! I told Jim they’d have to pay ME to climb any more steps, and it would definitely take more than a dollar! Of course, Jim went up. I waved. Can you see him?

Then it was time for the much easier walk down, followed by a congratulatory soft swirl ice cream cone. If you are interested, my step counter registered 15,072 today!

Vientiane – Some Wats and a Palace

4/9 – Today we cruised around some wats. Vientiane is home to over 80 Buddhist temples or wats, many serving as home to orange-clad monks. image

Some are old, and many are new and brightly painted. Here’s a fellow guarding the entrance to the wat across from our hotel.image

There are lots of creatures guarding the wats.

Some intricately carved tree roots being preserved at a temple under renovation.

Lots of stupas, or shrines, some with photos identifying who is being commemorated.

Lots and lots of Buddhas. The mudra with one hand on lap and one hand touching down is Calling the Earth to Witness the Truth.

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Some of the traveler blogs we read talk about experiencing “temple fatigue” in this part of Asia, so we don’t try to see every one. We spot the Presidential Palace – tourists not welcome here.image

Here’s a statue of King Anouvong, who lost the kingdom of Ventiane to the Siamese in the 1820s. Even though he lost, he is revered, and candles are lit and offerings left at the base of the statue. image

In an example of quirky urban planning, his back is toward a beautiful park where people sit, and he faces an empty field. Perhaps something grand is planned for the field in the future.image
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