Parque El Ejido is a large park in central Quito, situated just south of La Mariscal. Here you can sit and rest on one of the many benches under the tall trees and watch people. There is a big play ground for children in the park and places for football and volleyball.
On weekends there is an Art Fair in the north part of the park when artisans set up their stalls. There are a few stalls selling souvenirs during the week too.
For once I thought it would be good to start my trip with a few Spanish lessons. As I was staying in Centro Histórico I also wanted to take lessons there. There are many Spanish schools in Quito, but I only found one in Centro Histórico, Quito Antiguo Spanish School. I sent them an email and I booked 10 one on one lessons for $6 each (June 2011). If you take more lessons it will be cheaper.
When I arrived they were going to charge me $5 per lessons but I told them we had agreed on $6 so I paid that. Maybe I should have paid only $5 because the second and third day I didn’t get one to one lessons, but we were two students. It was fine anyway. I divided the 10 hours between three mornings and that was good because then I could go sight-seeing in the afternoon. I got a book with exercises and I made a lot of notes during the lessons, but unfortunately I never studied outside the lessons. Well, anyway it was good to refresh my Spanish with a few lessons.
When travelling to different destinations we all have different things that we want to do and see there. This waht make travelling such a great activity..When I was looking at my trip to South America there were many things that I put on my list ...One of the first was to put the appropriate travel insurance for my needs in place..
For me of course was the neccsary medical cover for ALL hospitals and doctors expenses etc. Lost luggage and travel equipment ie: cameeras lenses etc..but most important thing I beleive is a clause in the medical plan for repatriation home in case the unexpected or worse scenarrio happens. I know that I am not bullet proof... and in my many travels have witnessed many bad accidents ..makes you think!!!
Many places especially small towns and villages do not have the neccesary medical attention that you may need ..sometimes this can be life threatening..The costs in most facilities are horrendous for foreigners and for the uninsured can destroy your holiday. Being able to have that ability to get home for the medical attention that I need is imperative. I know when I am travelling that I can be rest assured that I have done the best in case the worst happens.
WE all have different likes when travelling and as I don't jump off bridges or out of aeroplanes I , by keeping a low insurance risk keep my costs down as well..
AS THEY SAY DONT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT..
Parque La Alameda is Quito’s oldest park as it was established as early as 1596. Some of the large trees in the park date from 1887 when there were plans for a Botanical Garden here. The park is around six hectares big and it is situated between Centro Histórico and the new town.
In the north eastern corner of Parque La Alameda there is a lake where boats can be rented. The park is popular with families which come here for picnic, especially during weekends. Then there are also many vendors of snacks and ice cream walking around the park.
In the south western corner there is a monument dedicated to Simon Bolívar. Other statues in the park show the members of the French Science Academy who were in Ecuador between 1736-44 doing measurements. Another monument is dedicated to Ecuador’s former president, Eloy Alfaro.
In the middle of the park is Quito’s Astronomical Observatory.
Teatro Sucre is a large beautiful building standing on the southwest side of Plaza del Teatro. It was constructed in 1878 and has a white façade with arches, columns and a balcony. On the fries above the balcony there are figures of Greek muses. The theatre opened up again in 2004 after some years of restoration. Teatro Sucre is the Ecuadorian National Theatre and here some of the best plays, concerts and dance performances in the country are held.
On the second floor there is a restaurant called Theatrum. I never went there, but maybe I will go there next time I visit Quito.
Guápulo is a small historic neighbourhood over the hill from Mariscal. It has the feeling of being a village with narrow cobblestone streets and houses with terracotta tiled roofs. There are several cafés and restaurants in Guápulo, but they all seemed to be closed when I visited. Also the church and museum was closed, even though my guidebook had said it should be open (but it is often wrong). I would have liked to visit the church Sanctuary of El Guápulo as it is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches of Quito.
To go to Guápulo I walked up the hill from Mariscal towards Hotel Quito. Behind the hotel there is a lookout with great views over Guápulo, the valley and surrounding green hills. At the lookout there is a statue of Francisco de Orellana. From the lookout I walked the winding street and stairs down to Guápulo. From Guápulo I took a bus and it stopped in La Floresta, I think.
Quito Botanic Garden is situated in north Quito, in the middle of Parque La Carolina. Here you can find over 300 plant species from all over Ecuador for example the Amazonas, the páramo and the cloud forest. There is also a rose garden and an Orquideario. In the Orquideario there are almost 1000 orchid species. Unfortunately only part of it was open when I visited.
Even if the traffic can be heard in the distance the Botanic Garden is a quiet and relaxing spot in the middle of a big city.
For foreigners admission was $3.50 (June 2011).
The Botanic Garden is open between 9 - 17.
This is at the site of Guayasamin's former home and workshop. The site includes different rooms showcasing his collection of pre-Colombian art/sculptures/items, his collection of religious art (even though he was not religious himself), some of his own art as well as a showcase of a featured artist (at the time I was there, the artist featured was kinda interesting and very focused on women's anatomy, mostly genitalia, including the 'golden tampon' - this is part of my reasoning why I prefer the Capilla dell Hombre up the road). The on-site workers are often happy to give you a free tour of the room. Entrance is a few dollars.
This is a park in the La Tola/El Dorado neighbourhood and looks over much of the city of Quito. It is a nice, tranquil place to hang out on a weekend afternoon and you can get lunch there. Sometimes there are various festivals (we went for the Orchid festival but didn't go in since there was a huge line up but did check out the market area where I bought my lovely Panama Hat!)
About 2 - 3 hours from Quito, this place is a world away. If you like peace and quiet and nature (especially birds) this is a magical place. The prices include all meals (there is nowhere else to go anyway) and you stay in a charming bamboo house. Lots of hummingbirds and forest trails. The guides are good, but some trails are very steep and we really felt the high altitude. Around $70 per person inclusive of all meals and they can arrange transfer from quito. Which is good because the last 14 km is up a steep rough road which some of the clapped out Quito taxis might have a problem with.
Oswaldo Guayasamín must be one of Ecuador's most famous painter and sculptor. His signature style depicts a portrait of human and social inequalities with strong influences from the indigenous Indians who live around him.
Faces and hands feature heavily in his works, which are mildly abstract, with bold, striking colours and which spell 'ANGUISH' in many of them. I never realised so many expressions can be conveyed just by drawing hands. Please check out 'Las Manos' (The Hands) Collection in his official website... the hands speak a thousand words.
'La Capilla del Hombre' (The Chapel of Man) was completed 3 years after his death in 1999. The building is a heavy grey oblong block with a cone protruding from the top. I got this from Wikipedia: "The Chapel is meant to document not only man's cruelty to man but also the potential for greatness within humanity."
While the exterior of the building looks somewhat dull, gosh, you will be totally utterly floored by the exhibits within. You will be swept away by the powerful images, staring with your mouths wide wide open.
Although you may have seen the thousands of reproductions in souvenirs and T-shirts and feel quite 'jaded' by them, to be here right in front of the GIGANTIC originals, staring at his amazing mix of colours and seemingly casual yet precise bold strokes and looking into the eyes of the faces in his paintings and seeing anguish, misery, pain, suffering, loss of hope, innocence, pleading, etc… it was thoroughly moving.
The 'Rostros de America' Collection is another memorable one where he drew many 'close-up' pictures of suffering and pensive Indian faces. Gosh, how he managed to capture the pain of the unseen people who lives in his country and everywhere else in Latin America.
This might not be on everyones to do list. It sure wasnt on mine but Rob had a different idea. So if you are interested in getting tatted you want to go with someone who does exceptionally good work, a place that has a good reputation and is clean. Very important. Y ou will want someone with alot of experience and the price has to be good too.
We found that such place at Art Tattoo.
Rob got a nice piece on his calf of a mermaid. As the story goes, sailor would get tattoos of mermaids as a sign that they crossed the equator. Some kind of tradition, maybe it was not sailors, maybe it was pirates or vikings...who knows but Rob thought about it and decided that was want he was going to get. He designed it and the artist Guillermo added some personal touches o it and it turned out super nice!
So if this is your thing, check it out.
The place looks very small from the outside but once you go in, its huge.
I have some more pictures under fondest memory.
One of the self-evident and surprisingly accessible places to visit in Quito is the presidential palace. There is the genuine attempt on the part of the authorities to present their rule as rule of the people, for the people and through the people by admitting the people and all guests to the country free of charge to the meeting rooms of the government. The visit is well organized with the usual airport-style check at the door by snazzy military personnel. Later on in the courtyard an offer of a photo follows and most surprisingly they produce the picture at the end of the tour together with an inscription saying that the Palacio belongs to everybody – very original and effective touch. The guide leads the crowd through the main staircase where the “flag” has been encased in a glass cupboard very much like a crown of the queen might be for the people to admire and salute. Behind this shrine of sorts spreads a monumental fresco that represents the aspirations of the Ecuadorian government to the parts of the Amazon basin that they lost to Peru. As the most persuasive argument they point out the sacrifice of 3000 indigenous people during the expedition of Orellana at the beginning of the colonization of the continent. How bizarre, Ecuador government based on liberation of Spain wants to hold onto an achievement performed by this very Spain they dislike and at the same time glorify the indigenous whom they despise and oppress quickly forgetting that they themselves are mostly indigenous by blood. The consolation is that the indigenous can come over during the break from selling scarves illegally on the San Francisco square and visit the palace of the people.
The neighborhood of Guápulo runs down the winding Camino de Orellana, from González Suárez to Calle de los Conquistadores. The Sanctuary of Guápulo is well known for being one of the oldest religious sanctuaries in the country and it is probably the oldest in Quito. The church was built between 1596 and 1693.
At times from the church you can see views of the valley but when we went the brush had grown so tall that we couldnt see much of the valley. It is situated on a small plateau among the range of hills that separates Quito from the Tumbaco valley.
Inside the church is nice but we were not allowed to take pictures. We took a few before we were told not too. The pulpit was created by a local sculptor named Menacho during the 1700s. It is said by many to be the most intricate pulpit in all of South America. The church is located in a very old neighborhood. There is a mixture of colonial and modern architecture. You can arrive at this place by taking a bus or walking. If you are near Mariscal zone, the address is Los Conquistadores Ave, behind Quito hotel.
Quito is dominated by the sight of Pichincha, the volcano that gives its name to the province in which the capital is located. This is not some small Montjuïc that seems to be tall, but then turns out to simply dominate a fairly flat city. The peak of Pichincha rises to an impressive 4300 metres above sea level – enough to cause shortness of breath even for the city’s residents. It is so high that there is snow and ice on the ground as you climb to the lips of the volcano, but you are still likely to be sunburnt because of the thinness of the ozone in the vicinity of the peak. The last eruption of the volcano was in 1999, when the city was covered in ash. Luckily, the active crater opens to the west, implying that lava, should it flow, would go away from the city and not towards it. Visitors to the mountain should go by the TeleferiQo, which may be reached on foot or by transit from the city (about an hour walk from El Ejido). Once on the mountain, the weather is brisk, and there are no trees, only brush, bushes and some shrubbery. This lends itself to horses, however, which are kept by tour guides who lead visitors on treks up to the crater. Those who prefer to simply admire the scenery can do so from the visitors’ centre and the makeshift diner created by the horse guides, but the views really are much more spectacular from high up.
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