Where in the world are we?

Where in the World are We?

04 March 2011

Un Poquito de Quito

We had two days to explore Quito, so we decided to visit two major areas we would not want to miss – Mitad del Mundo (the center of the world) and the Old City.

Quito was the first city to be named a World Heritage Site and we also read it is one of the most outstanding Spanish colonial cities in South America. Our two days were quick, but really enjoyable and we had gorgeous weather for both.

We couldn’t have come all this way and not visited the equator and 0˚0’0” latitude. At the site is a monument erected over the spot determined to be center by a French expedition in the 1700’s. In addition are a few small museums and a Disney-esque village with shops and cafes.

When you enter the site, you come to the monument along the equator from the east and everyone who approaches stops right there to take photos, inevitably ending up with strangers in their shots. As we considered how we would get our goofy equator photos without strangers, Anthony said, “The equator runs through the monument, so it must be on the other side, too.” So, we traveled in the northern hemisphere to the west and lo-and-behold only a father and son had come to the same realization so we had plenty of time to come up with poses and take the requisite balancing photos.

We spent a few hours at the site walking through the different sections and browsing the shops with their plethora of the same cheap trinkets and t-shirts. There is also a scale on which you can get your weight measurement to see the impact of the fact that the earth bulges along the equator, therefore making you a bit further from the center and gravity just a tiny bit weaker - ginnie gave it a try and found she weighs 98lbs at the equator. We spent time enjoying a snack sitting on either side of the equator and reveling in the mid-day sunshine.

Old City, Quito

Our next day was spent exploring the colonial streets of the historic center, and World Heritage Site, of Quito. We traveled via the local Trole which took us the short ride from near our neighborhood all the way into the city. We visited the different plazas and several churches, beginning with the Basilica up a hill and overlooking much of the Old City.

The Basilica is one of the most impressive of the colonial churches we have seen in all our travels throughout Latin America. It’s a large gothic building with detailed spires and gargoyles in the shapes of animals found in Ecuador and the Galápagos. We marveled at the beauty of the design and entered into a chapel where the pulpit sits in the center of the room with a cupola above surrounded by stained glass. The ceiling and passageways are curved V-topped columns. All of it was impressive and we, of course, took many photos.

Following the Basilica, we walked to a main plaza where the Presidential Palace, a fancy hotel, and another church surround a lovely park filled with benches and lush greenery. We were stunned to be able to walk right along the verandah of the Presidential Palace and Anthony got a photo with a palace guard (who do actually move and make facial expressions, unlike those at Buckingham Palace J). The rest of our day was filled with walking, parks, churches and the ever-present colonial balconies before returning to our hostal for a simple meal and rest before our full day of travel back to Boston for our two-week break.

What’s up after the break?

Our round-the-world journey continues in two weeks when we travel to a city built on 7 hills along the sands of the desert where we will visit some of the oldest sites we’ve ever seen (things built BCE!).The first stop on the route is to one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world that for a time in the 4th century BCE was called Philadelphia. (we hope...)

Paz y Amor!

1 comment:

Mica Clark-Peterek said...

So fun! Love the down-ward facing dog on the Equator! Let's see...are you headed to Amman, Jordan?