Quito

Trip Start Jan 01, 2001
1
295
353
Trip End Dec 28, 2010


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

 

After a good night we pushed on using good roads, but having to pay a small toll quite often. On arrival on the outskirts of Quito we knew we had to make or way to the north of town and so followed the ring road around. Unfortunately when we got level with where we wanted to go the road off was not suitable for heavy vehicles and so back we had to go. At the next point we could get off we then started to drive in the town itself. It was actually good, wide roads that we had to use so no problem at all. We were making our way to a large parking area that others had used, unfortunately when we arrived we could not find the parking lot, but after driving around a bit we did find a large parking lot. On trying to get in we found the first entrance was too tight, the second had cables only 6ft above the road and so no way. We asked the people and found that we could use the exit, which again was very tight but on a less used road and so we could get perfectly straight across the road and then drive in with an inch to spare each side of the vehicle. We then parked at one side of the car park and settled down for the night.

15th – Once again we have to stay here because my back is playing up again. We have been talking it over and have now decided we will have to call it a day because of the problems I am having with my back. Luckily we can get on the internet in the vehicle and have contacted the shipping line to get the good news that if we can be at Esmereldas by the 2nd November we can get a ship to transport Kirsty to Bremerhaven in Germany. We had planned to go to Singapore in December, and so we will have to cut short our trip around Ecuador. This will not be too bad because, although we are finding it a pleasant country there is not a great deal to see or do.

16th – Went for a visit to the Old Town section today, it is quite handy where we are parked with a 300m walk to the tram stop. The tram costs 25cents and takes us within 100m of the main plaza. This area is on the World Heritage list, mainly for the churches, it seems that you get one every 100m. The historic area itself is full of narrow, congested one way streets and hundreds of street vendors. The plaza has the Presidential Palace on one side, and although it is possible to see some of it normally it was in use today and so closed. On either side of this is the cathedral and the Archbishops Palace. This Palace, which covers the whole block is huge and has now been converted into small shops and restaurants. Leaving here we went to La Merced church, one of the most recent having been finished in1742. This one has lots of morbid paintings with people being killed in different ways, people being imprisoned and volcanoes erupting. Leaving here we then walked to the biggest and oldest church, that of St. Francis, but they had just started a service. In front of the church is the biggest plaza in the town. The fountain in the square was built in the 20th Century, but the water supply uses the original aqueducts built by the Inca. Leaving her we then went through the Arco de la Reina to the museum of the city, housed in an old hospital that had been built in 1557. This museum did not have information in English, but most items did not need it as it was showing daily life in Quito by use of reproduction housing or models. It is a fascinating place, made even more so today as they had live music and dancing from the Inca age, then some one playing the harpsichord with music from the 18th century and then finally a group playing music from the 1930's. Opposite the museum is the Monastery of Carmen Alto which is still in use, but it is possible to but goods through a revolving basket that allows the nuns to be invisible to the outside. We then were able to go in the most ornate church, that of the Company of Jesus or Jesuits. You are not allowed to film in this one, but it is certainly ornate, Some 7 tons of gold leaf were used to gild the walls, ceilings and alters and it took 163 years to build. After lunch near the square we walked back to the Church of St Francis, but were a bit disappointed since the only original parts, the main alter and Chapel alongside were closed for renovation. The main alter, another gilded baroque edifice is hidden by a full size picture covering the front.. That done and it was time to go back to the car park. Once again we had a bit of an unfortunate episode. As we were walking along the road a man grabbed the camera case that was attached to my belt and yanked it free and ran off. Mike did not like this and chased him, very quickly cornering him. He then pulled out a small knife and threatened Mike who by now was shouting for the police. After two or three swings the man gave up and gave the camera back and walked away. By this time a police woman had arrived and was radioing for backup. We did not bother to hang around as there were some 30 or 40 on-lookers who had seen it happen, but as we walked away there were 5or 6 police running down the road to try to catch the man. Whilst it was not a nice thing to happen the police certainly acted quickly. We were very soon back on the tram, but by now the heavens had opened and so we had to wait about 20 minutes at the tram stop for the rain to stop and let us walk back.

 

17th – A lazy day catching up on some chores, a good job really as the car park is shut today and we would need the guard to open up for us to leave and enter.

!8th - We decided to go into the New town area with the main idea of going to the National Museum. Unfortunately we had forgotten that they are closed on mondays and so it was just a stroll around the large craft area to buy a couple of woollens and then we went back to the vehicle.

19th – Moving on a bit and we have decided to go to the Mercedes garage to get a service done as it is much cheaper here. This means we are once more parked up on the forecourt of the garage in the north of Quito. With a reasonable town map it is fairly easy to navigate so long as you stay on the main roads and that is quite easy to do.

20th and 21st parked in the garage whilst they do the service.


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