We had two nights and a day in Quito. I’d never even heard of the city until we started planning the trip, but so glad we came here, as it is one of the most beautiful cities around. It is also the highest capital city in the world, at 2,800 metres above sea level. They city has a population of 2.7 million and is narrow and long – 8 kms wide but 60 kms long.
Our hotel was a small but lovely boutique hotel called Boutique Portal de Cantuna. The rooms are quite small but the common areas are beautiful.
The 1st floor conservatory.
This is the Church and Monastery of St. Francis and the Plaza de San Francisco. Our hotel is 20 metres from it, and wonderfully central. The church was constructed between 1534 and 1680.
The amount of gold in the church was staggering – but not as much as another church we went into.
This is the Plaza de la Independencia or Independence Plaza. It is the heart of the old city. On one side is the presidential palace, another the cathedral, the third is the city hall and the fourth is the old Archbishop’s Palace.
This French designed monument was unveiled in 1906 as a symbol of independence.
The Cathedral of Quito.
We also went into the Church of the Society of Jesus. You can’t take photos inside, but this photo of a jigsaw of the interior gives you an idea of what it looks like. Possibly the most magnificent church I’ve been in apart from the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.
Quito has 27 churches just in the old city. There is almost one on every corner.
The streets are quite steep!
Finally on the church front we went to the imposing Basílica del Voto Nacional.
The basilica remains technically unfinished as local legend is that when the Basílica is completed, the end of the world will come.
Incidentally a huge proportion of properties in Ecuador are unfinished with the start of an extra floor on the roof, or painting not completed. This is because you pay more tax on your property to the Government when your home is complete, so many simply never finish their home! Shows how people respond to incentives!
A state of Juan Pablo II outside, known elsewhere as John Paul II.
The interior from the 2nd floor view.
One can take a number of staircases up to the sanctuary and tower. A total of 211 steps and the final climb is on a narrow exterior near vertical ladder. You are as high up as the clock towers.
A view of some of the city from the top. Note the structure you can see at the top of the hill on the right.
That structure is a 45 metre tall stature of the Virgin Mary, or Madonna. It can be seen from miles away.
A view from the hill, El Panecillo, which the statue is on.
We then headed north, where we had lunch. I ordered corn and cheese, not realising rather than a dish, it would simply be a cob of corn and a slice of cheese!
Then we went to the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, which is a museum at the Middle of the World, on the equator. This monument is on the actual equator – not to be confused with the larger one which is 240 metres north of the equator.
Your shadow here is much shorter than anywhere else.
We then headed back to Quito and dined at this rooftop restaurant – Vista Hermosa Cafe Mirador Restaurant. Good food and stunning views. Our guide recommended it, and glad we took his advice.
A photo of the San Francisco Church at night, as we headed home.
, Latin America