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Published: March 11th 2019
Today we’re going sightseeing in Quito – primarily churches as most tourist attractions are shut on Mondays. The Colonial South American town centre is so formulaic I could walk it in my sleep; main plaza with cathedral and government palace. On either side, plazas containing the churches of San Francisco and Santo Domingo. And somewhere in the middle, the Jesuits, who took a vow of poverty but coated their churches liberally with gold.
We try to start in the main square but there is a demonstration underway. The square is completely blocked off and circled by riot police. More and more people are arriving and most are wearing surgical masks. And I don’t think they’re doctors….
We bypass the square and head for the enormous Basilica del Voto Nacional. The old man decides to climb the tower. I opt to sit in the café with a coke. I have a bad neck from sleeping weirdly last night and can do without the extra exertion. I visit the interior of the Basilica instead. Some of the stained glass is being renovated, so the statues in the nave have been wrapped in a dark fabric. It looks like the church has
been overrun by dementors.
Next we go to the church of San Francisco. It has an excellent museum in the monastery full of religious art. I try to buy some post cards, but they have run out, so offer me posters for the same price of $0.25 each. It sounds like a bargain but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these posters – answers on a postcard (obviously not a postcard of San Francisco church).
We pass the rear of the cathedral, but it is still closed due to the demonstration. Next we consider the Jesuit church, until we realise entry is $5 each.
We round off our morning in Santo Domingo church; highlight – a colour changing virgin. It’s safe to say we are all churched out, so we return to our hotel to pack for tomorrow’s trip to the Amazon.
In the evening we go from one extreme to the other. After yesterday’s fancy meal, we go to a tiny 3 table shack where a lovely lady whips up a Mexican feast for £20, including 4 beers.
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