Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Quito, Ecuador, October 24, 2017

The sun was shining and the sky was blue early this morning, so after a $2 breakfast of bread, eggs, juice and hot leche, I retraced my steps of yesterday afternoon to get some better pictures-

Quito was a flourishing Inca city in 1526 when the Spanish arrived.  Rather than 'give' it to the Spaniards, the ruler Ruminahui razed the city before their arrival!  There are no Inca remains.  What a shame!  So, today's Quito was founded on the ruins in 1534.  Colonists, Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians  built churches and did they build churches, usually with the slave labor of the Indigenous people.  After independence from Spain in 1830, Quito became the capital of Ecuador.

Plaza Grande-

Catedral Primaria-

Starting around 9 am, you have to pay to get in most of the churches, but when there is early mass, you can walk in for free.  Pictures are not allowed but ....

The main altar at Catedral Primaria-

There were 2 extremely gaudy side altars.  Apparently there is about 65 kg of gold leaf in this church!

The ceiling is wooden and even above the side arches it is painted with Biblical scenes-

There are little altars off the side for private or smaller masses-

The Nativity scene shows a llama and horse peering over Jesus-

The Basilica Del  Voto National, in Gothic style, was built over several decades, beginning in 1926-

Rather than traditional gargouilles, they used iguanas and turtles-

The 18th century Merced tower, the highest in Colonial Quito, is supposed to be possessed by the devil.  Only a bell ringer named Ceferino could enter the tower and no one has since he died in 1810!


Construction of the San Francisco Church/Monastery began a few weeks after Quito's founding in 1534.  It took 70 years to complete-

Inside is beyond belief!  The altar-

There were so many statues in the altar and the ceiling was a blue dome.  The architecture is Baroque-

Side altars-

And on the opposite side-

More side altars-

Looking back towards the entrance.  Even the ceiling is carved and shows Moorish influence-

Below the church, the catacombs have been turned into a market-

After my own walking tour, I went on a free walking tour with a guide who was super passionate about Quito.  Our first stop was the food market where they sell many fruit that are available year round-

The nono smells like dirty feet but has a mild taste, sort of like star fruit-

Granadillas look like oranges but the seeds inside taste like passion fruit, kind of slimy-

The guanabana comes in a large round shell, like a coconut but inside are separate chunks.  The flavor is really nice but there is a seed in each part.  It's used a lot for juicing-

The tomate de arbol sort of tastes like a peach.  You squeeze the orange part out of the skin-

The taxo looks like a banana but the inside contains seeds like pomegranate, sort of-

Awesome English translation-

Roses are a huge export in Ecuador.  25 cost $4 US.  My Dad would be in heaven-

I bought a couple of scarves from this woman-

Lunch was ensalada, maize, boiled potato and pork for $1 US-

The eggman-

Eggs are usually bought a few at a time and carried away in a plastic bag.

I love the artwork around these doors-

I bit the bullet today, a huge bullet! and booked an Antarctic cruise.  I have been watching availability the last while and luckily there is a cruise leaving exactly when we are in Ushuaia.  I wanted a triple cabin because it's cheaper but when I contacted the company, there was only one single cabin left!  So I  had no choice if I wanted to see Antarctica.  It's an 11 day trip and once back in Ushuaia, I will fly to Buenos Aires to catch the group.  The only bad thing is I will not see much, if any, of Buenos Aires because if the schedule remains the same, we will leave the next morning.  

Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to going up the Telefonico to Cruz Loma for a great view of the city.

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