Quito, Ecuador

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December 1st 2014
Published: December 2nd 2014
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We landed in Quito on a Friday night, into the midst of a crazy fiesta rampaging in the square outside our guesthouse - multitudes of people, fireworks, police in numbers, helmets and riot gear, music, dancing and lots of noisy action...... In the San Fransisco square at 9pm it felt very edgy, especially when our host had suggested we not venture too far......

in Quito's old quarter, or Centro Historico as the locals call it... the fiesta, we found out, is just a warm up for an annual festival which dominates early December, leading to foundation day on the 6th; it's a time of bullfights, flamenco dancing, outdoor concerts and non stop bus-top revelling.......

Ecuador's capital is a remarkable city in an extraordinary setting.

Declared one of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites in 1978, Quito is a Spanish colonial city with narrow cobble stone streets and heaps of impressive churches, monasteries, civic buildings and terraced houses which date from the 16th Century. That is, if you're in the old town. Quito also has a modern section of towering glass and concrete, but whoever thought to keep them relatively seperate was a genius. All this, colonial and modern, is set at 2800 metres in an Andean valley, overseen by some ominous looking volcanoes....

We have 4 nights in Quito, and have really enjoyed it, so much so we will return. It's not as crazy as the first impressions, but is a place where you need to be aware - know what's going on around you, no quiet streets, taxi after dark, use atms in public places, bags held on to..... there are lots of stories of thieves, kidnappings, muggings etc. though the Equadorian government is making a big effort to clean up crime and promote tourism, hence the huge police presence. They also have a very progressive president who supports arts and cultural development and education..... it might be edgy, but there is so much to like here....

Check out the pics; we've seen lots of interesting characters, impressive buildings (including scaling100 metres up the Basillica tower) and went up to a gasping 4000 metres on the TeleferiQo..... and the religious iconography is pretty full on....

However, the most lasting impression of Quito is of really friendly people, from the customs folk in the airport to the people in the street, QuiteƱos are very welcoming.....

Additional photos below
Photos: 31, Displayed: 23


After a big night out in QuitoAfter a big night out in Quito
After a big night out in Quito

The religious icons are pretty strong
Founding father BanalcazarFounding father Banalcazar
Founding father Banalcazar

I'll be on his side.....
Sunday afternoon is Open ForumSunday afternoon is Open Forum
Sunday afternoon is Open Forum

The grand square, Quito. Independence for Amazon!!

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