Published: September 12th 2012September 12th 2012
Starting off our experience in this city had been more of a gringo experience than we had ever wanted. Yes, we did have our first Ecuadorian beers – Pilsener and Club. But as far as getting a native or cultural experience was concerned – that was the extent of it. No hard core diving into the “Anthony Bourdain” style of eating street foods, no listening to local musicians, dancing on tables and having pure fun in the true Ecuadorian spirit.
What we did do, was got settled in our little hotel nestled in the center of the La Mariscal District, affectionately known as Gringolandia, a highly Americanized section of this culturally diverse city. We are surrounding by nightclubs, discoteques and trendy restaurants. Feels a bit like South Beach. We enjoyed a tasty Mexican dinner and passed out after a long day of travel only to be awoken all night long by the Karaoke bar next door with screeching singing screams until 4 am. I guess folks don’t sleep on Tuesday nights in Quito, which leads me to wonder what the weekends are like.
Today, we were fortunate to experience a little more of Ecuador. We spent a good part
Steve and His Beers
Pilsener is the winner!
of our morning in the Basilica del Voto Nacional - a Roman Catholic Church in which construction beginning around 1883. After touring this concrete marvel, we realized we don't need to bother touring other churches in Ecuador as they can only pale in comparison. Needless to say, there has definitley been some divine intervetion in its construction, jaw dropping beauty and intense serenity that overwhelms you upon entering.
We were blessed to have been there during a mass for children (in Spanish, of course).. but even more blessed that I could understand a part of it. The topic was respect.
Upon further exploration of the church and my previous research about it, we discovered a stone staircase leading to a flat level above the amazing Church ceilings. From there we took a rickety wooden bridge to a very steep metal staircase leading you up and out above the Church offering a 360 degree view of Quito. My legs were wobbly, and at that point I stopped my climb. Steve continued his climb up to the very top of the tower. Reaching all new heights.
After we got high in the Church - not in the "illegal sense"
Top of the World
The amazing view of the city and Andes.
of the phrase - we got even higher from 9000 feet above sea level to 14,000 in 15 minutes flat via a dangling gondola (the Teleforica). The second highest or longest cable ride in the world, creeps its way to the top giving a breathtakingview of peaks of the volcanoes in the Andes mountains.
Later, a quick tour around Old Town Quito and back to our hotel for dinner.
We have enjoyed our visit in Quito because it has served as a great stepping stone to our real adventures in the Andes to come, starting tomorrow. We are hoping to experience first hand an authentic indigenous Ecuadorian way of life for the next several days.
There are more photos below