Quito - Ecuador's City Way Up High

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Having limited time available in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, we decided to take the cable car (Teleferico) so that we could view the vastness of this stunning city from literally a giddy height. Quito, set in the Andean foothills, is at an altitude of 2850 m. The Teleferico, one of the highest aerial lifts worldwide, rises to a whopping height of 3945 m. What an awe-inspiring experience! The scenery on the way up, and particularly at the top - the 360 degree all around panorama - can only be described are magnificent. We would not have missed this for the world! We only wish that we had taken warm jackets with us, as the chill factor up on the mountain was CHILL. The majestic snow-capped peaks of Cotapaxi and Pinchincha volcanoes.should have been a dead give away, 'snow-capped' being the operative word! If it's the only thing you have time to do in Quito, we would strongly advise you do the Teleferico trip. We have been on numerous cable car rides, but this one was by far the most impressive and an experience of a lifetime.

 

Our next stop was the beautifully ornate Fundacion Iglesia d la Compania. Built in 1605 this Catholic church, situated in the historic centre of Quito, has stood the test of time, surviving a couple of earthquakes over the years. The architecture is very beautiful, with intricate barley-twist stone columns adorning its entrance. The gilded interior has a humbling effect on one and makes one want to go on bended knee. This antiquated, lovingly preserved, building is still currently being utilized for daily mass. Entry is allowed to other denominations when mass is not in progress.

 

 

 

Walking through the Old Town (historic district) of Quito with its blend of Moorish, European and indigenous styles of architecture is quite an experience, particularly if you are fortunate enough to do so as the light starts changing and fading at dusk. The shades of pink sky and the simultaneous illumination of the ancient 16th and 17th Century buildings makes this area a photographer's dream.

I would hate to know what developing of my photos, pre-digital, would have cost! My biggest quandary was what to photograph first, the towering statue in the centre of the square, the imposing palace, the stately Hotel Plaza Grand, the cobbled-stone streets or the myriad churches.

 

I was warned about pick pocketing and bag snatching which apparently occurs in this area. I can honestly say that nobody took any notice of me flashing my camera or using my camera flash! (Please note that flash photography is prohibited in churches. Signage at the church doors indicates whether photos may be taken without flash).

 

After much running around to get "the perfect photo" a perfectly percolated coffee at the Plaza Grand Hotel, which overlooks the bustling square, was a perfect end to an exhilarating day.

 

 

 Text & Photography by Adelia Cook for MyKerkyra.com

 

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