Quito, Ecuador

Quito is many things – the highest official capital city in the world as Ecuador’s capital, one of two cities (along with Krakow) whose historic central districts were named as the first UNESCO World Heritage sites back in 1978, home to over 2.6 million people, rich in history and culture….
Bike Trip Quito 2 026
Bike Trip Quito 2 052
Bike Trip Quito 2 016
The city rests in a high, narrow valley on the slopes of the active volcano, Pichincha. As we ride from Cayambe I can see houses and other buildings spread out across the valley below us and creeping up the other side. Then high up on the other side of the river valley I catch glimpses of highrises between the peaks of the ridges. That is the heart of Quito, perched way up there and looking down on me. We ride through construction and a few tunnels winding our way through these steep valleys and up to the other side. It’s really hard to get a good look at the city from any one vantage point because it seems to be wedged in this narrow high valley. In fact the city is something like 15 or more miles long and no more than a mile wide except where it seems to spill out over the rim onto the slopes of the ridges above or below.
Bike Trip Quito 2 022
We settle into a hostel and wander through the old part of the city on a sunny day, starting in Plaza Grande.
Bike Trip Quito 2 006
Bike Trip Quito 2 007
The Presidential Palace is here along with City Hall, the Cathedral and the Centro Cultural Metropolitano.
Bike Trip Quito 2 011
We walk down Calle Garcia Moreno to see La Compania de Jesus, an incredibly extravagant church that reportedly took 163 years to build and 7 tons of gold to decorate.
Bike Trip Quito 2 013
This street is known as the Street of Seven Crosses for the number of churches found here, making it the religious center of the city.
Bike Trip Quito 2 015
We can see the Panecillo from here, the small hill at this southern end of the city, which is topped with a 40-foot high statue of the Virgin of Quito.
Bike Trip Quito 2 024
Bike Trip Quito 2 025
Bike Trip Quito 2 032
The Basilica del Voto Nacional, or La Sagrada Corazon de Jesus, is at the other end of the old town. It’s giant towers and dome can be seen from all over. The Basilica is enormous and reminds me of Notre Dame in Paris, but is much lovelier in its own ways.
Bike Trip Quito 2 058
Bike Trip Quito 2 068
You can climb the towers and even cross a wooden boardwalk over the roof of the main church to the dome and climb it’s tower for a spectacular view. There have been earthquakes every week or two in Quito, so as I cross, I’m worried that there aren’t any while I’m up here.
Bike Trip Quito 2 075
Bike Trip Quito 2 088
Bike Trip Quito 2 097
I love that the gargoyles/grotesques were made in the shape of animals and birds of Ecuador – monkeys, jaguars, Galapagos tortoises, Iguanas and more.
Bike Trip Quito 2 078
Bike Trip Quito 2 147
Bike Trip Quito 2 142

Categories: TravelTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: