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:
Of course, there were plenty of churches, displaying all the gold and art that were not in evidence at the Basilica yesterday.
My favorite painting showed Jesus literally sending a message to Saul at Damascus – too bad Saul was blind and couldn’t read it!
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…)
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!