Quito's Old City CLOSED
Trip Start Dec 14, 2011
66Trip End Jan 28, 2012
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A US$3 taxi fare got me at 10 am to the Brasilica which I could easily see yesterday from Panecillo. It was just US$2 to get in. While it was only 22 C outside, how cool it was inside. I love the sunlight casting its coloured shadows through the stain glass windows onto the floor.
Then downhill via Venezuela towards the Old City with the small shops selling all sorts of items: shoe soles, plastic pipes, plumbing hardware…. While this street is right by the tourist area, they certainly do not sell the tourist type of goods!
Back through the Plaza de la Independencia and a queue was forming by the Palacio de Gobierno or Palacio de Carondelet or Presidencial Palacio so I decided to join them. Wonder what was inside this place? Only 20 were admitted in a group at a time, through the metal detector, hand in ones id / passport (I had a photocopy) in exchange for a visitor’s tag.
Besides the gigantic mosaic mural of Orellana navigating the Amazon and the ironwork on the balconies looking over the main Plaza de la Independencia which is from Tuilleries in Paris, it was the wood work that impressed me. On return of the visitor’s badge we received our ID back plus a lovely (free) photo of oneself to remember our visit.
Next up to the Iglesia de la Merced but that was closed. The bell tower houses the city biggest bell.Then over to the Plaza de Francisco. The Monasterio de San Francisco was closed but next door the Museo de Franciscano was open - US$2. The crowds were drawn to a display of miniature scenes. Some were animated as seen by the 2 video clips.
Plaza de Santo Domingo and the same name church was closed. Dominating the Plaza was the large Coke sponsored Christmas tree.
One more circuit of Quito Old City using different alleyways and back down the new wide open Calle de la Ronda which needs developing as it is quite stark at the moment.
While it was only 23 C, after 4 hours I had enough walking around to see “closed” churches so a taxi took me back to pick up my bags from El Arupo hostal and then up to Hotel Quito. All this for US $3.07. Thank goodness I had asked earlier at the “i” by Plaza de la Independencia how to in Spanish ask “to wait for a few minutes while I collect my bags” = espere unos minutos voy a retirar mis maletas.
At 6 pm a group meeting for the Galapagos trip and the first part of 5 days I will with be a group of just 10 people in a ship that can take 16 people. Me and two other families: 5 Canadians from Victoria, BC and a Danish family of 4. So that will mean a cabin for myself on the upper deck.