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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Quito: Old City Charm

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 30 October 2007 | Views [741]

We awake to a clear, crisp spring day. Quito is surrounded by mountains, volcanic slopes and rolling hills. Quito's Old Town is classified as a World Heritage site, and walking the streets we can understand why; beautifully maintained and restored historical buildings, churches, monasteries and galleries. Despite the many warnings we've read, and received from locals about the significance of danger from robberies, muggings and other sorts of attacks on tourists, we're finding our day of wandering to be full of beautiful sights and friendly locals. The streets are flooded with tourist police, some corners have upwards to 10 men and women dressed in uniform. No one speaks English here, not even the receptionist at our hotel, which requires us to be very reliant on our Spanish skills, and put our dictionary to use for those words we don't know. Quito, geographically, reminds us a bit of San Francisco, built on steep hills. We climb inside the Basillica, cross wood planks to the steep vertical ladders up into the towers of the Church, past the clock tower and up to the level of the bell. The views from the top are breath taking to say the least, but it makes me a bit weak in the knees at this height. We also venture into the Museum and Monastery of Santa Catalina where we see the most bizarre paintings - sheep eating the ribs of Jesus, while a whole flock of them drink his blood. There are other paintings depicting hell along with absurd tortures of people in hell. The woman hosting our private tour leads us up to a bell tower and out onto the roof, for yet another fantastic view of the city. Despite having been affected by earthquakes, we find Quito an exquisitely beautiful, historically and culturally rich city. Similar to India, the locals here sing out the products they're selling on the streets in a musical chant. Everywhere we look, we see women in their traditional embroidered dress, and men wearing wool ponchos and hats. This is juxtaposed with the young business crowd dressed in slick suits, fueling the financial and business capital of Ecuador. Quito is a very livable city, old world charm, yet modern, and we could easily settle in here, although we'd have to buy some warm clothes. A storm just blew through this afternoon and the rain has really chilled things down; we're warming up in a little cafe with the hot chocolate and coffee that South America is famous for.

Tags: Sightseeing

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