Tag Archives: Quito

Friday in Quito

Jun 14 – Today is our last day in the city, so we went back to Centro Historico to see more of the sights.

Touch the hand of San Augustine for a blessing:

Here are a few examples of wall art, which I look for wherever we go:

We checked out the Art Museum, which displayed paintings from classic to modern:

In the Plaza de San Francisco, we got caught in a flurry of pigeons:

The Mercado was small, but had plants used for botanical cures:

…and some jumbo sized pigs feet:

…as well as normal market fare:

These eggs were our supper.
If you ask for a chicken leg, you get the foot too!

Iglesia La Merced (Church of Mercy) was the prettiest church of all:

It had scenes painted on glass around the doorway that depicted the coming of the Spaniards and conversion of the native Ecuadorians.

It also had many paintings of regular people being watched over by the Madonna.

The Museo de la Ciudad (Museum of the City) showed the history of Quito using mannequins and dioramas:

It all started in the jungle…

The museum building was once a hospital.
Battling the Spaniards in the jungle.
Semana Santa – Holy Week procession
Traditional costumes in different areas of Ecuador
Me hanging with some native ladies

Thank you Quito (and the Virgin on the hill) – we had a blast! Tomorrow we’re off to Tena!

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!

Quito, Ecuador

Jun 11, 2019 – We’re off on another adventure, to the South American country of Ecuador. Jim lived there with his family when he was a teen, and he is eager to see what has changed since 1962.

Where is this little country? See it there on the Pacific coast between Colombia and Peru? The Galapagos Islands are off to the west, and we saw tons of teens at the airport in Galapagos tee shirts. The national currency is the U.S. dollar. There is one hour time difference , same as Central time. We will be here for a month.

We Lyfted to the airport and hopped a short flight to Miami, then the four hour flight to Quito. The airport is an hour out of the city, and we were due to arrive late, so Jim booked us into a hostel near the airport for one night. The proprietor picked us up ( I love to see our name waving on a sign in the airport pickup area, especially after midnight!), took us to our nice clean room with hot shower, where we dropped immediately to sleep.

Jun 12 – In the morning, our host fed us ham, cheese and eggs, and showed us where to stand on the main road to flag down the bus (actually the first of two buses) bound for the city. While we waited for the bus, an Uber driver stopped and asked if we wanted a ride. He was off the clock and on his way back to the city, so Jim negotiated a half price ride right to our hotel. A win-win for everybody! Here is a view from our hotel, Casa Carpedm (carpe diem – get it?)

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is almost two miles above sea level, and built into the mountains. I could feel the altitude just walking across the street to our hotel – the thin air causes a breathless tightness in your lungs. It will take several days to adjust. Although Quito is just 16 miles from the equator, the altitude keeps it rather chilly, with a daily high temperature in the low 60s, dropping down into the lower 40s at night.

We settled in, then went off in search of lunch. The streets are steeply slanted ( think San Francisco) so we won’t go very far today. We set out for what we thought was an Indian restaurant that got five stars online, but turned out to be a set menu place, run by Hare Krishnas – who knew they were still around? For $3 apiece we got a bowl of tepid soup and an entree of tepid vegetables over rice. Not a great start… we’ll try to do better next meal.

Our hotel is near the Basilica of the National Vow, so we sauntered over for a look. This neo-gothic cathedral looks old, but wasn’t built until the early 1900s, and was only consecrated in the 1980s. It’s the largest neo-gothic in the Americas.

One of the interesting things about this church is that they included carvings of animals native to Ecuador, where the gargoyles usually are.

Inside, there were some interestingly modern likenesses of Mary:

…along with others more traditional.

There was also a Mary chapel with intricately painted pillars.

The weather went from sunny to rainy then back to sunny in the space of an hour, reminding us that although the temperatures are cool, we will be subjected to the fickle weather of any tropical climate. Note to self: tomorrow, bring your raincoat!

The view from our hotel window as the sun set. Not bad for a first day!