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Old Town - Quito, Ecuador

Written on: Sunday September 9th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Author: Julie and Kevin


Days can start out on your own and next thing you know you are a group of five, walking the streets of Old Town and talking about what brought you to Ecuador. We had met Alex, John, and Roy at our hostel. They were trying to get to Old Town and having only arrive in Quito the day before, they were new to the bus system in Quito. Being old-hands at it, we invited them to join us.  We walked from the hotel to street 10 Agosto to catch the latest TroleBus, crossing av. Amazonas which, every second Sunday, is closed to cars for the day.  


On the way, our Brit friends shared the details of their last five weeks with us.  They were in the cloud forests of Mindo, putting to practise a new protocol for analysing wildlife in the rain forest.  Ecuador has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, and home of several unidentified plants and insects.  Where previously it would take months to complete a survey, their process can accomplish about the same in 30 minutes.   They would climb mountains and survey areas and also determine the effects of global warming, seeing what life forms could adapt and which would simply perish.  The results of their surveys will help to determine if the cloud forest should be a designated conservation area open to ecotourism. Keep up the good work guys!


Before we knew it we our Trole had reached our stop and we were in Plaza Presidencial, surrounded by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old town and its beautifully renovated Spanish colonial buildings.  In the distance we noticed the gothic Basilica del Voto Nacional which was built in starting in 1926.  We just realised that there were three important churches in Quito?all have their interests.  The one that we visited had the most unique view of the city. We entered the courtyard of the church to see 3 large arched doorways with 3 large ornately carved doors. Mass was in session so we didn?t get to see too much of the interior of the main floor of the basilica but we did get to experience the most exhilarating part of it. Imagine climbing up spiral staircases, which takes you up 5 flights of stairs, to the top of the church. The church is being renovated so the roof is covered by a metal dome and you can walk across wooden planks that takes you to the cupola. To reach the top you have to climb two very steep, very nerve-wracking ladders.  We were then standing on the church peak, with a disintegrating metal floor that would bend and groan when you walked on it. But wait there?s more?we could also climb up the two towers opposite the cupola and sit out in the open air, on a small corner of concrete, with nothing below your feet but the ground a hundred feet below.  Of course we had to try it, but it didn?t take long before fear kicked in and scared us back down. On the way up one tower we were able to be in the clock room where the mechanics are kept for the large clock faces that are on the each side of the tower. It was so cool! It was a 4$ well spent for the day.