In and around Quito

Quito Travel Blog

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Certainly a pose for the ages
For our first day in Quito our plan was to check out some parks in the morning and then head out to the historic Old Town area in the afternoon.

We set off after breakfast for Parque Itchimbia, which we were told is up high enough to get a good view of Quito. It was a close but steep walk up to the park and very quickly we realised how hard the altitude made it to walk up hill. We plowed on up the hill only to find that we had taken the wrong street and were greeted with a dead end. We were all buggered so we had to sit down for a few minutes to catch our breath. We wandered back down and found our way up to the park. At the top the views were pretty good and there was a Cultural Center for us to check out.
Outside Hostel Revolution in Quito, Ecuador
It looked all arty inside with photographs alongside detailed descriptions, but they were all in Spanish so we didn't really know what they were saying. Necesito aprender mas Espanol!

Next we headed to Parque la Carolina which is a bigger park north of the main Quito sights. We got there on the Metrobus - also called the trolley - which has a dedicated bus lane and small bus stations where you pay at a counter before you get on. The park was really busy as Sunday is the day that the locals like to relax and this is clearly one of the places to be. We walked around for a good hour or so checking out all the activities going on. The best was an outdoors fitness class where a bulky guy in far-too-small shorts was up on a stage running the class and a huge number of locals were following along.
The Basilica in Quito, Ecuador
We had lunch there at a small restaurant and then headed back. When we got back to the hostel we all got hit fairly hard by the jet lag that we had to that point avoided and ended up sleeping through the afternoon instead of going to Old Town.

The next day we headed to Old Town in the morning. We somewhat followed a walking guide book that led us down some narrow old streets before we came to a central looking square that was quite impressive. A tourist policeman came up to us and recommended places to go and told us to come back later in the morning to see the changing of the guard ceremony. We headed up the street in Old Town that has most of the churches. We hadn't really read much about the churches in advance so we took most of it all on first impressions.
Inside the Cultural Center in Quito, Ecuador
We went into one that seemed to be mid-Mass and had heaps of gold lining the ornamental walls.

We came back to the square we were at earlier just in time as the changing of the guard ceremony was starting. The presidential palace lined one of the sides of the square, and there was a big musical routine with all these historically dressed guards. At the end the President himself came out on the top balcony of his palace and gave the crowd a wave. There were a lot of school children down in the crowd watching and when the President came out most of the girls started squealing like they had seen a famous singer.

After that we perused the Old Town some more and finished up at the Basilica, which is a very large church a bit of to the side of the main area.
Fitness session being run at a park in Quito
It was built in the late 1800s so it isn't quite as historical as the others, but it was impressive inside. The outside was interesting in that the usual gargoyles of large churches were replaced by mythical creatures of the Amazonas.

We had the whole afternoon to fill in so we decided to check out the famous monument at the Equator - Mitad del Mundo (translates to Middle of the World). To get there we took the trolley north, got off at some bus depot, and then changed buses for one going to Mitad del Mundo. It took us about 80 to 90 minutes to get there, which I think was slower than usual because of the number of school kids getting on and off. It is also still just a public bus so it darts around outer suburbian streets instead of going direct. The upside to this was that it only cost US 40 cents to get there!

Mitad del Mundo is in it's own kind of mini-town where there are a bunch of shops and restaurants, along obviously with the main monument.
Dead end we came to when trying to walk up to the Cultural Center
From memory the French built the monument based on where they thought the Equator was, but it turns out it was actually a couple hundred metres away, so you have to temporarily ignore such technicalities in order to appreciate the place. After lunch there we wanted to go see the real Equator so we got a general direction point from the woman running the cafe and we walked over. We were greeted instead with the wall of the park and then after using our sly internet skills (iPhone + free wifi) we realised it was actually in some dodgy museum next to the main park and that we would have to pay to get in. It was already getting late in the afternoon and we had the trip back to go so we let the actual Equator beat us and headed back on the bus.
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Certainly a pose for the ages
Certainly a pose for the ages
Outside Hostel Revolution in Quito…
Outside Hostel Revolution in Quit…
The Basilica in Quito, Ecuador
The Basilica in Quito, Ecuador
Inside the Cultural Center in Quit…
Inside the Cultural Center in Qui…
Fitness session being run at a par…
Fitness session being run at a pa…
Dead end we came to when trying to…
Dead end we came to when trying t…
The Presidential Palace during the…
The Presidential Palace during th…
I took this photo so I could see h…
I took this photo so I could see …
Looking up a street in Old Town wi…
Looking up a street in Old Town w…
The Presidential Palace before the…
The Presidential Palace before th…
A church in Old Town, Quito
A church in Old Town, Quito
Inside a church in Old Town, Quito
Inside a church in Old Town, Quito
A church in Old Town, Quito
A church in Old Town, Quito
The changing of the guard ceremony…
The changing of the guard ceremon…
Presidential guards in Quito, Ecua…
Presidential guards in Quito, Ecu…
Presidential guards marching in Qu…
Presidential guards marching in Q…
Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
Old Town, Quito, Ecuador
Myself, Liz and Ryan at a square i…
Myself, Liz and Ryan at a square …
Inside the Basilica in Quito
Inside the Basilica in Quito
The back of the Basilica in Quito
The back of the Basilica in Quito
Inside architecture of the Basilic…
Inside architecture of the Basili…
Side of the Basilica in Quito. I a…
Side of the Basilica in Quito. I …
The Obelisk in Quito, Ecuador. Pro…
The Obelisk in Quito, Ecuador. Pr…
Heading up to the monument at Mita…
Heading up to the monument at Mit…
Examining the implications of cros…
Examining the implications of cro…
Quito
photo by: Bluetraveler