Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quito: The Highest Capital City in the World

At Pichincha Volcano, Quito, Ecuador
The city of Quito, Ecuador rests at 9,350 feet above sea level, making it almost two miles high. Sorry Denver, this South American hub has you beat! We had six nights and days in the thin air, originally planning to do a two to three day trip to one of the nearby mountain towns or cloud forest. However, if you read Drew's blog post you know that he wasn't going on any long bus journeys during our first few days here, and after he was well we still had more to explore in this city.

Unexpectedly, due to Drew's ear issues, we had the exciting opportunity to experience the Ecuadorian healthcare system. I won't get into the details because you can read his story from the link above, but overall, I was impressed with the ease and cost of treatment. Plus the facilities were clean and modern, and the people were great.

Besides our healthcare tour of Quito, we explored the Pichincha Volcano, the closest of the many active volcanoes surrounding the city; the "old town", a beautiful, bustling area with narrow cobblestone streets, restored colonial architecture complete with flowered balconies, lively plazas and incredible old churches; La Mariscal, the touristy area full of restaurants, bars, shops, and more; and La Mitad del Mundo, "The Middle of the World," a touristy monument with a line painted representing the equator so you can take the famous picture with one foot in each hemisphere.

Three words/phrases to describe Quito: Bustling, Culturally rich, Breathtaking (literally) views

Around the Old Town

Inside La Compania Church
La Plaza de Independencia
Archbishop's Palace
San Francisco Plaza (The Virgin Statue in the background)
A cultural dance being performed in San Francisco Plaza
The Virgin Statue in El Panecillo
Calle La Ronda - famous, fun street in the Old Town
La Mitad del Mundo

The Monument
Me and Drew in opposite hemispheres (holding the world)
View of the mountains and shops

Visiting La Basilica and Views from the Top

Inside La Basilica
Mountains and the city below
Church and City view
Getting Artsy
From the Outside
Pichincha Volcano

We took a ride up the second highest gondola in the world, then walked and hiked a bit 
Another of my infamous "jumping photos"

Drew "doesn't do" jumping photos. But I made him do some anyway. :)
Some pretty flowers and the city sprawled out below

And lastly, I'll leave you and Quito, Ecuador with one of my favorite shots of daily life here.

El gato loco at our hostel
For more photos from Quito, check out our Shutterfly page from the "Photos" link above, or click here.

Hasta Luego, Quito. Off to Lima, Peru!

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