After seeing some pretty amazing places, and 3 days straight of hiking we were worn out. We caught the bus from the entrance of Cotopaxi National Park towards Quito. A little over an hour later we were in the bus terminal in Quito, and soon a sister came to pick us up. We had never met this sister before, but she was a friend of a brother and sister in our hall, and they had set up for us stay with her in her house while we visited Quito. This turned out to be an enormous blessing. The sister and her two sons were great! We immediately changed Wednesday night after we got there, and headed to the English meeting in Quito. It was really nice to meet all the friends, and we look forward to seeing some of them again at the English 2-day assembly (last one) this weekend. I almost didn’t go to the meeting because of a bad headache, but I’m glad I did, as I felt great by the time it was over, and we didn’t want to leave!
For any of you that may happen to be going to the International Convention in Quito in 2015, we have a few spots that you can’t miss! Thursday morning we headed to the Teleferico, which is a cable car that takes you from Quito up Pichincha volcano, which is yet another active volcano that is immediately to the west of the city limits of Quito. It’s a slow ride to the lookout up top, but the view is stunning! As you ride along, and when you reach the top, Quito stretches out to your right and left, and seems to go on forever. But little did we know you can hike to the top of Pincincha from there, which takes about 4 hours. We were very worn out, but headed towards the mountain with the boys. after an hour of so, we just couldn’t go any further! But the scenery was amazing, hard to believe we were so close to a modern city of over 2 million people.
That night Marcia and the boys headed to their meeting, and we decided to head into “Centro Historico” a famous part of Quito, which we were fortunate enough to be only a few blocks away from. Centro Historico is just what you would imagine, the restored historic center of the city. This district is packed with historic architecture, churches, museums, and government buildings. Having been several times to Cuenca’s famous center with all its old buildings, we have to say that we liked Quito much better! We felt as if we had left Ecuador, and ended up in Europe somewhere. Days could be spent wandering the streets here enjoying all the beautiful buildings, and shops. We also felt very safe in this district. Before coming to Quito all we had heard were
warnings about how dangerous it is, both from local brothers, and travel blogs on the internet. I had envisioned a mugger on every corner ready to swipe my iPhone or wallet. This may be true of other parts of the city, but in Centro Historico it is very safe, with Police on every corner. Don’t be afraid to go out at night, and explore. We stumbled upon a great café in the courtyard of a beautifully restored spanish colonial building. Centro Historico is a can’t miss in Quito.
The next morning we headed to the “Mited del Mundo” This is a famous tourist spot
about an hour north of where we were in Quito. “Mited del Mundo”-or “Middle of the World”- is a monument and museum built on the equator…. or so they thought. We enjoyed the monument, and museum, but felt it was overpriced. The surrounding area is supposed to be a model Ecuadorian town, but it felt more like a vacated theme park. The worst part about this place was that they built it about 100 yards of the mark! The real equator (calculated with GPS) is just outside the proper line. To visit the real equator, you have to enter a separate place, and pay again. For anyone that wants visit the Mited del Mundo, we would recommend skipping the huge monument and museum, and heading straight to the real thing, which is marked by a series of cool demonstrations, and experiments.
One of the Experiments
We enjoyed lunch with a local family, and later that afternoon we walked down to look at the ” Basilica del vote naciónal” It’s a shame this building is used for false worship, the architecture is simply amazing. They don’t make buildings like that anymore. There is some more pictures below. Making the climb up the steeple is defiantly worth it, as it provides a striking view of the city, especially “Centro Historico”. I would not recommend this for the faint at heart, as the ladders are high and steep. Elena was definitely nervous.
That night we again headed into Centro Historico, but this time with a guide Alejandro. Walked around, and stumbled upon a dance show. For only 2 dollars we enjoyed watching a demonstration of traditional dance from various parts of the country. This is shown every Friday night, and something that anyone heading to Quito would enjoy. Later we were joined by Andreas, and we headed toward Quito’s oldest street “La Ronda”. This is another can’t miss in Quito. We would recommend heading there on a Friday or Saturday night, as the street is teeming with people, and excitement. It is a narrow street that stretches for several blocks, and it is full of small artisan shops, and restaurants. We stopped and got some “Empanadas de morocho” a specialty in Quito. The street ends at the old bus terminal, that has been converted into a beautiful new park, another nice spot.
One of the places we have been wanting to see is the Artisan market in Otavalo. Its a famous spot that a lot of people visit
when coming to Ecuador. But Otavalo is about 3 hours north of Quito, and we just didn’t have the time to make the trip. We were told about the local artisan market in Quito. Saturday morning we headed to the artisan market to check out what they had. We were not disappointed. We found a lot of great things, from Ecuadorian chocolate, to handmade alpaca sweaters. Plenty of jewelery, paintings, and other small items if you were looking for gifts for back home.
Saturday afternoon we had lunch with the family we had stayed with, and a nice missionary couple that have been here for 30 years. It was nice picking their brain about service here in Ecuador. After that we started the long journey back toward Loja. But we still had one more stop left….