Tag Archives: Quito photos

Quito Part Two – Ecuador

After a good night’s sleep to make me feel slightly more human, I had a decent serving of breakfast from the terrace area at the hostel with Sarah and a guy called Ewan from Bristol. We then headed over the the “Mitad del Mundo”, a museum about half an hour outside the centre of town to check out the aptly named Centre of the Earth.

Ecuadorian-with-Pork-Pie-Hat, Quito, Ecuador

Ecuadorian with Pork Pie Hat – Quito, Ecuador

The Mitad del Mundo museum was an interesting place accessible by an expensive cab or, as we decided, by taking a couple of local buses. Way up on one of the stretching hillsides outside Quito, it’s a museum sitting in the middle of a deserted zone – an area you didn’t want to be thumbing for a ride home should you miss the last bus back. Although gimmicky, it was still interesting to see an array of magic tricks which arguably identified whether you were stood on the northern or southern side of the Equator – this included water swirling clockwise to anti-clockwise, eggs balancing on the pin head of a nail and varying strength tests on and around the Equator line. The basic premise of the strength test was to exhibit how gravity is at its most powerful and balanced on the equator line itself. Another big lesson I learnt was not to take a piss in any rivers – we were introduced to the unpleasant Candiru Fish (the locals call it Earth Worm) – a creature that hones in on urine and makes his way up the urethra to implant itself. The only way out is by dragging it out…

Equator-Line, Mitad-del-Mundo, Quito, Ecuador

Equator Line – Mitad del Mundo – Quito, Ecuador

Sun-Clock, Mitad-del-Mundo, Quito, Ecuador

Sun Clock – Mitad del Mundo – Quito, Ecuador

Egg-Balancing, Mitad-del-Mundo, Quito, Ecuador

Egg Balancing – Mitad del Mundo – Quito, Ecuador

Perfectly-Balanced-Egg-on-Nail, Mitad-del-Mundo, Ecuador

Perfectly Balanced Egg on Nail – Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador

Finger-Force, Mitad-del-Mundo, Quito, Ecuador

Finger Force – Mitad del Mundo – Quito, Ecuador

Sun-Dial-Mitad-del-Mundo, Quito, Ecuador

Sun Dial at Mitad del Mundo – Quito, Ecuador

Mitad-del-Mundo-Guide, Quito, Ecuador

Mitad del Mundo Guide – Quito, Ecuador

Tribal-Statue, Quito, Ecuador

Tribal Statue – Quito, Ecuador

Candiru-Fish-Bottled, Quito, Ecuador

Candiru Fish Bottled – Quito, Ecuador

After a couple of hours, we started walking down towards the bus stop to head back into town, pausing at a deserted dusty road side restaurant for some eggs on toast. There were no paths en route, so it felt like we were fugitives thumbing down the highway. At the other end of the bus journey, we wandered back to the hostel via the new town which turned out to be a shocking area created for western gravis. There was even a Chelsea bar in one of the central squares flying the Lion flag relating to Chelsea Football Club. It however, wasn’t actually a football bar – just a Euro pop bar. As we walked through the expanse of the Parque Ejido which acted as a natural border between the old and new town, police presence started to pick up. As they put you instantly on edge as you suddenly couldn’t help but be wary of onlooking eyes, we quickened the pace until we arrived back at the hostel safely for a night of Andean music.

El-Mariscal-Streets, Quito, Ecuador

El Mariscal Streets – Quito, Ecuador

Bars-of-El-Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador

Bars of El Mariscal – Quito, Ecuador

Ecuadorian-Band, Quito, Ecuador

Ecuadorian Band – Quito, Ecuador

On the final day in Quito, I decided to walk back into the old town to check out the huge Basilica del Voto Nacional de Quito before trekking back over to the new town of El Mariscal to see if I’d missed anything on the previous day. For the first time, I woke up with a little bit of altitude sickness which meant I spent the rest of the day in a bit of a blur. At the Basilica, I bumped into Chris – one of the guys who woke me up at the first hostel – so I hung out with him for the rest of the day. The Basilica itself was quite amazing. The most precarious part of the visit was when we decided to head to the clock towers way up high so we could get a decent panoramic view of the city – like the crumbling buildings of the city, we had to make our way across a dodgy rickety wooden bridge that spanned the church eaves, before carefully trudging up a steel ladder without any safety around you to stop you plummeting to impending death. But it was worth the fear for the spectacular views.

Basilica-de-Quito, Ecuador

Basilica de Quito – Ecuador

Facade-of-the-Basilica-de-Quito, Ecuador

Facade of the Basilica de Quito – Ecuador

Aisle-Basilica-de-Quito, Ecuador

Aisle of the Basilica de Quito – Ecuador

Inside-the-Basilica-de-Quito, Ecuador

Inside the Basilica de Quito – Ecuador

Clock-Towers-Basilica-de-Quito, Ecuador

Clock Towers of the Basilica de Quito – Ecuador

Precarious-Gangway, Basilica-de-Quito, Ecuador

Precarious Gangway – Basilica de Quito – Ecuador

Clock-Towers-Basilica-de-Quito, Ecuador

Clock Towers of the Basilica de Quito – Ecuador

Quito-New-Town-Skyline, Ecuador

Quito New Town Skyline – Ecuador

School-Playground, Quito, Ecuador

School Playground – Quito, Ecuador

Quito-New-Town-Skyline, Ecuador

Quito New Town Skyline – Ecuador

Quito-Architecture, Ecuador

Quito Architecture – Ecuador

Quito-Skyline-View, Basilica, Ecuador

Quito Skyline View from the Basilica – Ecuador

Later, we took a bite to eat in the main Plaza Grande before making our way over to El Mariscal. I was still feeling heady from the altitude, so we stopped off at a shisha bar for some local remedy which instantly did the trick.

For the final night back at the hostel, having felt frustrated at not really left the hostel at night for fear of being attacked, a group of us took part in the hostel quiz before buying some tickets to hit some bars in El Mariscal. It was a bit of a tourist shepherding into the safest of the local bars, and really the the only logical way of going out. I wasn’t confident enough yet in myself to go into central Quito at night.

The bars we headed into also introduced me for what was to come on most nights out. Everybody talks about the stereotype of Latin blood – how much they like to dance, drink and party, take drugs and have sex liberally. As westerners, walking into some proper local bars meant that the focus around us was exemplified. At each and every bar, guys and girls would flock to check us out and show us their moves like a special episode of a BBC Nature programme. Locals weren’t fearful of getting down and dirty with scenes of couples needing to be pulled off each other most of the time before tearing each other’s clothes off. The dance floors were cramped, smoky, sweaty and full of life. And I loved every minute of it.

Further Reading

Centre of the Earth – Mitad del Mundo

La Basilica del Voto Nacional de Quito

Quito and the Conquistadores

More Photography :

“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in Ecuador Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Quito Part One – Ecuador

Waking up suddenly in sweats, I found myself on top of a bunk bed staring down at two guys who were showered and getting changed. They were clearly hung-over and couldn’t help but clatter around the room making as much noise as they possibly could. I still felt completely nauseated and it took me a while to introduce myself to the guys and explain I was a bit disorientated as I’d just come over from Auckland.

It was a strange feeling – I was finally in South America but my body and mind just didn’t react to it positively. I headed round the corner for breakfast with the two guys before I took a shower and a cab into the centre of Quito where I was to stay for the next three nights. In between, I then suddenly realised – I forgot my sister was expecting her first child so I quickly logged onto the internet to see if there was any news. Roman Thomas Wise was born at 9.01am on May 2nd weighing in at 7lbs 1oz! I fortunately managed to have a one way excitable Skype call with my sister Deborah and my brother-in-law Laurie, but the connection was terrible. I never felt so far away from home in my life at that point. Although I was about to start the best part of my journey, the one I had most looked for too, I also yearned to be at home to see Roman. Compounded by my biliousness, it took me a while to get to grips again and head out into the old town to check into the Secret Garden Hostel.

As I checked in, I then suddenly came to life again. Turning round from the reception desk, I was hit by a stunning view of Quito. The city sits 2,800 metres above sea water in amongst the hills of the top of the Andes and is the highest legal capital city in the world. Quito itself was born following the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors and the Real Audiencia back in the 1530s and developed from basic farming and peasantry to a rich trade in textiles. The hostel was situated high up on top of one of the surrounding hillsides so we could see for miles out into the distance. I then also twigged why I was still so nauseated – I was forgetting that I was most likely acclimatising to the altitude.

Quito wasn’t quite how I imagined it. I expected the city to be a huge ragged cosmopolitan, but, for some reason, it completely alluded me as to its setting high up in the hills. The city was sprawling – everywhere you looked, you could see Quito’s suburbs eat away at the lush green forests around. But, at the same time, its expanse felt quite isolated and compact. The hillsides seemed to hold the city in its cup, protected from the outside world.

La-Victoria-Suburb, Quito, Ecuador

La Victoria Suburb – Quito, Ecuador

El-Sena-Suburb, Quito, Ecuador

El Sena Suburb – Quito, Ecuador

El-Sena-Suburb, Quito, Ecuador

El Sena Suburb – Quito, Ecuador

The buildings weren’t particularly overbearing either. The streets were narrow, long and windy, with old white unkempt Spanish empire buildings crumbling away. They were cobbled like any central or southern Spanish town. The central areas themselves were generally well kept in terms of cleanliness – the buildings themselves just had old rustic and enticing character. Shops were open selling all kinds of merchandise, food and textiles – almost lining up like markets, but housed in bricks and mortar. The Ecuadorians themselves were also quite petite in general. Wandering around, I was of course anxious as to my safety, knowing the tales of danger that lurked on every street corner. But grasping my camera in hand, I didn’t feel at all perturbed by the city. It seemed quite peaceful – it was bustling in parts, but generally, it didn’t feel like a capital city.

Streets-of-Quito-Central, Ecuador

Streets of Quito Central – Ecuador

Streets-of-Quito, Ecuador

Streets of Quito – Ecuador

Calle-Chile, Quito, Ecuador

Calle Chile – Quito, Ecuador

Streets-Heading-up-to-the-Hills-of-Quito, Ecuador

Streets Heading up to the Hills of Quito, Ecuador

Calle-Venezuela, Quito, Ecuador

Calle Venezuela – Quito, Ecuador

Colonial-Buildings-of-Quito, Ecuador

Colonial Buildings of Quito, Ecuador

Schoolgirls-Walking, Quito, Ecuador

Schoolgirls Walking – Quito, Ecuador

Looking-up-the-Streets-of-Quito, Ecuador

Looking up the Streets of Quito – Ecuador

As I passed through the Plaza Grande in the centre, taking in the old cathedral and Palacio del Gobierno (Town Hall), the locals all seemed quite pleasant.

Later, I walked down the Calle Garcia Moreno, passing the beautiful gold filled Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus (Church of Jesus’ Disciples) towards the Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum) which backed off the hills of El Panecillo where the statue of the Virgin Mary overlooked the city. The evidence of the Spanish pilgrimage was rife. As I stepped into the museum, camera hanging round my neck, I was then forewarned by the ticket seller – do not walk towards El Panecillo looking like that or you won’t come back in one piece. Note taken.

Plaza-Grande, Quito, Ecuador

Plaza Grande – Quito, Ecuador

Independence-Statue, Plaza-Grande, Quito, Ecuador

Independence Statue – Plaza Grande – Quito, Ecuador

La-Plaza-Grande, Quito, Ecuador

La Plaza Grande – Quito, Ecuador

Catedral-Grande, Quito, Ecuador

Catedral Grande – Quito, Ecuador

Iglesia-Merced, Quito, Ecuador

Iglesia Merced – Quito, Ecuador

Palacio-de-Independencia, Quito, Ecuador

Palacio de Independencia – Quito, Ecuador

Capilla-de-La-Iglesia-Merced, Quito, Ecuador

Capilla de La Iglesia Merced – Quito, Ecuador

Base-of-the-Capilla-de-la-Iglesia-Merced, Quito, Ecuador

Base of the Capilla de la Iglesia Merced – Quito, Ecuador

Iglesia-de-la-Compania, Quito, Ecuador

Iglesia de la Compania – Quito, Ecuador

Banco-Central-de-Quito, Ecuador

Banco Central de Quito – Ecuador

Quito-Museum, Ecuador

Quito Museum – Ecuador

Hills-of-El-Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador

Hills of El Panecillo – Quito, Ecuador

As I then visited the Plaza San Francisco, the earlier warning from the ticket booth seller at the museum started to plague me. Paying more attention to what was going on about me, I started to realise that the crumbling buildings actually surrounded a bigger issue to its people. A lot of the Quitorians were still poor – if this was central to the city, one could only imagine the suburbs. People did seem to be wandering around without objective. They were people searching for scraps of work or food. On street corners, shifty characters would lurk around. People would be transferring textiles and other merchandise on their backs from one place to another. The worn faces of the locals showed their struggle for survival. Wandering around the city market, I felt prying eyes on me. It could have been intrigue, it could have been more.

Plaza-San-Francisco, Quito, Ecuador

Plaza San Francisco – Quito, Ecuador

School-Bus, Quito, Ecuador

School Bus – Quito, Ecuador

Catch-up-Time, Plaza-Grande, Quito, Ecuador

Catch-up Time – Plaza Grande – Quito, Ecuador

Courting, Plaza-Grande, Quito, Ecuador

Courting – Plaza Grande – Quito, Ecuador

Old-Man-Walking-to-Work, Quito, Ecuador

Old Man Walking to Work – Quito, Ecuador

Thoughtful, Quito, Ecuador

Thoughtful – Quito, Ecuador

Toddler-Wandering, Plaza-Grande, Quito, Ecuador

Toddler Wandering – Plaza Grande – Quito, Ecuador

Shoe-Shining, Quito, Ecuador

Shoe Shining – Quito, Ecuador

As night drew in, I headed back to the hostel. I met a mother and daughter from Canada, Janvier and Beverley as well as a girl from London called Sarah. In the evening we sat up in the rooftop bar overlooking the Quito skyline. A couple of fellow hostellers came back to report they’d been mugged just down the street – their cameras and wallets stolen. After meeting a couple of other people, Joanna and Ewan from the US as well as three or four others from Europe, they all had tales of being attacked or threatened. And I thought it was a peaceful place…

Further Reading

Quito Tourist Guide

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Quito and the Conquistadores

More Photography :

“The Photography Collection” by Antematters

Posted in Ecuador Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |