The Old Town, and Guapulo in Quito.

Quito Travel Blog

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The Quito Observatory in Parque Alameda. The oldest one in South America. Currently being renovated.

Hello all,

Today is my first full day in Quito, and that means it time to check things out.  I am staying in the New Town area, which is great for the tourists but could pretty much be set down in any Latin American city.  I've been told that the Old Town has character, and is what makes Quito special.  I spent about three hours walking through the Old Town.  I did the whole tourist thing, snapping pics at every cool looking thing I saw and drinking in the atmosphere.  Quito is surrounded by volcanos, and this makes for some great backgrounds of some great buildings.  Very photogenic.

I got back to the hotel at about 4:30pm, and figured that I could get in one more big thing today.

Simon Bolivar statue at the entrance to Parque Alameda.
 TeleferiQo is an aerial tram that climbs the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano on the western edge of Quito.  It goes to 4,100 metres, and has great views of the city.  I walked towards the area with the idea of getting a taxi.  The first one I found would not budge on his high price, so I let him go.  The next taxi was reasonable, so I hopped into the front seat and off we went.  The driver didn't speak english, but I have been getting into the spanish groove lately.  The traffic was bad and we had time to discuss my trip.

I still am not doing so well at putting sentences together, but I have been much better at getting my point across.  I also am starting to pick up what other people are saying more often, which is very helpful.  We went up a few winding roads, and got to TeleferiQo's entrance.
The Virgen de Quito on El Panecillo on the south end of Quito.
 I heard the attendant say the word cerrado, and I knew I was in trouble.  The whole place was closed for maintainance for the night.  Well, that ruins my plans.  I told the driver to head back to the Mariscal, and we jumped back into the Quito traffic again.

I didn't have my tour book with me, but I recalled another tourist attraction on the other side of the New Town.  We thought about it for a while, and came up with it... Guapulo.  We agreed on a price on made our way east.  Guapulo is a section of town that rest on a hillside facing east towards the Oriente, Ecuador's Amazon province.  We wove our way down for about 15 minutes until reaching the Sanctuary of El Guapulo.  There I found a beautiful little church and museum that were open for another 30 minutes.
La Compania de Jesus church in the Old Town, Quito.
 I paid the $1 admission, and took up the whole of my time checking out the church, and the museum full of restored old relics.

After this I took a few more pics, and then started looking for a taxi.  There were none.  Now faced with a huge climb up to the city, I put one foot in front of the other.  Maybe a taxi will drive by.  I didn't even see a taxi on the 25 minute climb to the top.  I was really sucking wind by the time I got to the top, and that casino looked very inviting.  After passing through the metal detector, I entered the casino.  I found a $2 blackjack table and sat down.  I was next to a Dutch gentleman there on business, and the rest of the table was full of locals.  The was a good vibe at the table, and I was winning.  I stayed for about 90 minutes and won $27 (not bad for a $2 table).
The Monastery of San Francisco form the square. Old Town, Quito.
 I felt the luck turn and cashed out.

I grabbed a taxi and went back to the hotel.  At about 10pm I was hungry so I took a walk.  The neighborhood was still fairly busy, so I felt relatively safe.  Even so, I only had $8 in my pocket, $20 in my sock, and didn't bring my wallet.  I found myself drawn to something I had seen earlier in the day, and I was walking through some deserted neighborhoods with my senses on full alert.  I reached my destination intact, and satisfied my hunger.  I'm sorry folks, it was a McDonalds.

I took a different route back to the hotel that was a bit better.  Right before reaching the hotel I was offered some drugs, and I did pass a prostitute on the way...  But it's a big city, what do you expect?  I crashed in the room at about 1am.  Tomorrow is the re-do for TeleferiQo, and one more trip.  Stay tuned.

Later, Phil

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The Quito Observatory in Parque Al…
The Quito Observatory in Parque A…
Simon Bolivar statue at the entran…
Simon Bolivar statue at the entra…
The Virgen de Quito on El Panecill…
The Virgen de Quito on El Panecil…
La Compania de Jesus church in the…
La Compania de Jesus church in th…
The Monastery of San Francisco for…
The Monastery of San Francisco fo…
The domes of La Compania de Jesus …
The domes of La Compania de Jesus…
The Palacio del Gobierno.  Offical…
The Palacio del Gobierno. Offica…
Small demonstration in front of th…
Small demonstration in front of t…
Basilica del Voto Nacional.  Built…
Basilica del Voto Nacional. Buil…
Another view of the Basilica del V…
Another view of the Basilica del …
A sidewalk cafe in the Mariscal Su…
A sidewalk cafe in the Mariscal S…
Statue of Francisco de Orellana.  …
Statue of Francisco de Orellana. …
In the Museum of the Sanctuary of …
In the Museum of the Sanctuary of…
In the Museum of the Sanctuary of …
In the Museum of the Sanctuary of…
In the Museum of the Sanctuary of …
In the Museum of the Sanctuary of…
View of the valley Guapulo.  The c…
View of the valley Guapulo. The …
Quito
photo by: Bluetraveler