So since our last post we have been busy ‘playing the tourist’ and seeing the many sights Quito has to offer – from its numerous parks to gold gilded churches.
Parque el Ejido
One of our favourite spots here is Parque el Ejido which is one of the largest parks in Quito and is also host to a particularly nice arts and crafts market on the weekend. Grace and I spent some time chilling in the sun, relaxing and watching the local families enjoy there ‘fin de semana.’
On the way to the park we walked down Quito’s main street (Avenue Amazonas) where they close to cars every other Sunday to hold the ‘Ciclopaseo’ – a bicycle ride where loads of peddlers take to the streets.
Old Town is also great; it’s what people come to Quito to see. You can spend hours wandering around the many squares and plazas marveling over the buildings built centuries ago by indigenous artisans. The churches are so lavish here it’s hard to find a single spot that hasn’t been gilded in gold. After seeing our 5th church/convent/monastery we stumbled across a couple of parrots which actually provided a welcome relief from our overly cultural day…
We were lucky that our trip to Old Town coincided with a rather large political event at the Palacio de Gobierno (a government building where the President occasionally hangs out). Swarms of people came to watch some fancy dude appear on the balcony and loads of guards parading around (due to the language barrier we still have no clue what was actually going on, although we think we may have seen the President of Venezuela – big dog…)
In the South of Old Town lies ‘El Panecillo’ (translation: Little Bread Loaf) a rather large hill that provides uninterrupted (except for the excessive clouds that seem to be the norm here) 360 degree views of Quito. At the top of the hill lies a huge statue (La Virgen de Quito) the center piece of El Panecillo. However, we were more amused by a stray dog (Bob) that took a liking to us and the sheep fight we witnessed between a rather unlucky black sheep and a herd of white sheep (after taking a few snaps we felt sorry for little Billy and broke the fight up).
Another of Quito’s main attractions is the ‘TeleferiQo’ which is a cable car that takes you all the way to the top of Cruz Loma passing over the flanks of the now extinct Vulcan Pichincha. It’s a 2.5km ride up to the top with great views of the city all the way. Due to the high altitude (4100m) it was hard work just walking around, but then Grace and I decided that wasn’t enough and we wanted to trek to the top of Rucu Pichincha which lies at 4680m. We set off in sunshine however 2 hours later the weather soon turned and just before our final assault on the summit we got caught in a thunder and hailstorm. We wimped out (sensibly so) and turned around before the weather got any worse, making our way back to the cable car. Even so the views were pretty impressive and it was great adventure…
Tomorrow we are heading off to visit Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world (we think) and are also extremely excited about going to the Galapagos Islands for an 8 day cruise on Friday. We will update the blog as soon as we are back…
Mike & Grace
- Quaint and friendly Quito (nicoledegreg.wordpress.com)