Quito – High in the Sky

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Ecuador, Play-by-plays, South America | 0 comments

Basilica

I decided to stray away from the pack and travel (mainly by bus) through Ecuador to meet Natalya and Roza in Lima instead of heading to Tayrona. After a very long, fun NYE night in Cartagena I had to catch an early morning flight to Quito Ecuador. Quito is the capital city of Ecuador, with a population of 2 million people and a very rich history. Quito was built on the ruins of an ancient Incan city and sits at an elevation of 2,800 meters (~9,200 ft above sea level). Battling both the post New Year’s Eve night feeling and the high elevation my first day in Quito was a rough one.

While Ecuador is no stranger to tourism, the country doesn’t see the same amount of visitors as its neighboring countries and as a result you won’t find as many locals speaking English. In my broken Spanish (and day after nye state), I found my way to my hostel (Community Hostel) and then did some very slow exploration once I adjusted to the elevation. Quito, like most of Ecuador, is fairly inexpensive so traveling around is very easy. I took a cab (USD 5.00) to the Teleferico (the world’s second highest cable car – USD 8.50) to get views of the entire city from 4,100 meters high (13,500 ft up). While it wasn’t the clearest day, I did manage to get a few good pics. As it was getting dark and it’s not advised to walk in certain neighborhoods at night, I made my way back to the hostel. I’m not sure if it was the exhaustion from the night before, or the fact that Community Hostel (USD 10 for a 6 bed dorm) has amazing beds, but I had one of the most relaxing rests I’ve had in a long time. telefonica Quito

The next day I took a city bus (USD 0.25) to explore Old Town, visit Museo de la Ciudad and the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Old Town’s brick roads, beautiful pre-colonial architecture and multitude of plazas transported me back in time. After walking around for a bit I went to the Museo de la Ciudad where you can get an overview of Ecuador’s history through art and sculpture (including one sculpture that Michael Jackson must have seen). Finally I made my way to Basilica del Voto Nacional, a huge neo-gothic church, which began construction in the late 1800s. It is the largest neo-gothic basilica in the world and is mainly known for the gargoyles around the church representing the animals that can be found in Ecuador. You can climb to the top of the basilica and get a view of the Virgin Mary located on top of El Panecillo hill. While construction started in the late 1800s the basilica remains unfinished; the legend goes, once the Basilica is completed, the world will end….MJ

Virgin Mary

Now I’m heading off to Banos de Agua Santa to see more of what Ecuador has to offer.

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