We have a saying in the UK, usually used when the powers that be suddenly step in and stop you doing something (or apply a load of rules and regulations to something) that you're capable of doing without mishap, because someone lacking in common sense may or may not injure themselves whilst carrying out said task...... 'Health and safety gone mad'
After a day of wandering the city my first impression of Quito, and I’m guessing this may apply to much more of South America, is that if it was possible this city is the exact opposite of that saying, but as I can’t think of what the exact opposite to the silly saying would be I’ll settle with ‘Wozers, I can’t believe we were allowed to do that’ and also ‘Sorry Mum, I promise that I didn’t put myself in any danger’.
Quito is full of lots and lots of Churches. Amazing Churches, Beautiful Churches - so much so that these churches are among one of the many reasons that Quito was one of the first cities to be named a UNESCO world cultural heritage site - but there are only so many stained glass windows
Tight turns on the spiral stairs
and religious paintings you can look at in a day before church fatigue sets in. That is until you find out that The Basilica del Voto Nacional, the really cool looking gothic church, the one with all the funky Ecuadorian animal gargoyles and the cool legend (The Basilica remains technically unfinished, local legend says that when the Basilica is completed, the end of the world will come….) allows you to climb the 115 meters to the top of its towers!
And when I say climb i mean, steep and tiny steps, then spiral staircases past the workings of the clocks, then a wooden walk way high up in the eaves of the church, before a ladder up the final leg to reach the top with not a safety rail or warning sticker in sight. With Quito being 2,850 meters above sea level (the highest capital city in the world) you really do feel on top of the world once you’re up in the bell towers.
Coupled with an amazing 3 course veggie lunch for next to nothing ($2) a wander around the historic centre, the Carondelet Palace (the president’s office and residence) and a
Climbing past the workings of the clocks
few more churches for good measure today really has been a lovely way to spend one in South America.
Tomorrow brings an escape from the city to a rainforest in the clouds.
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