Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Quito pictures

Volcano views dominate the landscape in Quito. Photo from my B&B in Quito's old town

 I finally got to looking over my photos from February's trip. Here are some of my favorites from my 3 days wandering around Quito.  See also my earlier pictures from riding my bike in Quito's Ciclopaseo (Bicycle Sunday).

Quito Old Town, viewed from Basilico church tower

I like to climb church towers (see these photos from Zurich, for example). Quito's gothic cathedral, the Basilica con Voto Nacional, does not disappoint in this regard.

After buying a ticket, one takes an elevator up several stories, then walks across the top of the sanctuary on a kind of bouncy wooden path.  It was dark and mysterious, in kind of a phantom of the opera way.

Several flights up internal stone staircases follows, then you emerge on a external walkway. The neat-but-scary bit follows: a series of quite steep external staircases. The steps felt pretty far apart and a little exposed. Not recommended for someone who is afraid of heights!

And then up to the top! The Basilica is known for its grotesques in the form of native Ecuadoran animals (such as tortoises, eagles, iguanas, and the like) and you can see some on top of the tower, below. The views were impressive, even on this cloudy day.

Native Ecuadoran birds (maybe eagles?)  atop of the church tower

The Basilica has three towers, and the next stop was one of the the clock towers. After retracing steps down scary ladders, stairs and back across the top of the sanctuary, the climb into the clock tower began.  This one featured ladders in the bell tower! 

Yes, the rungs are very far apart on this ladder (one of two, if I recall correctly). Note scary open window to the left.

You end up behind the clock faces, way up in the tower. There is a big window with an awesome view as well and you could hit the bells if you wanted (I didn't).

Here's a view of the clock towers from the church tower.  Nice view of Quito Old Town!

Basilico clock towers
I also spent an afternoon walking around Old Town and visiting a bunch of churches and other local sights.

Map of Quito's Old Town

San Francisco Square (will update with Spanish name!)

Inside the church. Lots of gold!
I also went to Quito's botanical garden. It was pretty small but had an interesting carnivorous plant collection. Also, nice roses!

I stayed in the Old Town and this worked out really well as I was walking distance from most of the Old City sights. And the place had a lot of character. 

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