Ecuador 2010

 

Situated in an Andean valley at 2,850 m above sea level at the foot of Volcano Pichincha, Quito is a modern city with a living history. One of Latin America’s most historically important cities, Quito was the first city in the world to be declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site by UNESCO in 1978.. Noteworthy for its architectural beauty, Quito is home to numerous churches and convents built in the colonial period. The Metropolitan Cathedral, located in Independence Plaza, is one of the city’s most impressive historical and architectural sites. Others worthy of mention are the following cathedrals and historical sites: San Francisco, la Compañía de Jesús, San Agustín, Santo Domingo, El Sagrario, La Merced, Carmen Bajo, San Sebastian, Santa Barbara, and San Blas. A large part of their interiors, especially the altars and pulpits, are gilded in gold and house innumerable works of religious art. Some of their museums hold valuable collections of paintings and sculptures belonging to the artistic genre which has been come to known as the Quito School.

Another important building is the Carondelet Palace, the seat of the Central Government. In Quito’s historical center, with its steep, narrow, cobblestone streets, the artistic and architectural influence of Spain can be seen in the general architectural style of the homes, their balconies, their tiled roofs, and their interior patios. Another colonial area, outside the of Old Town, is the suburb Guápulo. Perched on the eastern slopes of the city, Guapalo’s most impressive sight is its famous sanctuary to the Virgin of Guápulo, the oldest sanctuary of its kind in the country.

However, despite its rich living history, Ecuador’s capital is at the same time a modern metropolis with a variety of hotel facilities to choose from, including many of the world’s major hotel chains. Quito also has countless restaurants (serving national and international cuisine, alike), shopping centers, theaters, convention centers, and everything else that the most demanding tourist could possibly need.

Indian Market in Otavalo. The province of Imbabura is located in northern Ecuador, a picturesque land of lakes, majestic sierras and terraced farmlands and is home to the Otavalo Indians, industrious and enterprising people, who offer their products at the famous outdoor market. Here you will find ponchos, embroidered blouses and shirts (extremely well priced), ceramics, wall hangings, native jewelry and authentic Panama hats plus fruit, vegetables and just about anything else you can think of! Saturday is the best day to visit as there are hundreds of stands set up so we will not only enjoy a fun day but walking around and watching the stall owners, you will see what these people are like….wonderful and very friendly. Otavalo is the most famous Indian market in Ecuador and much of South America!

The textile industry was established in 1540 and became home to textile haciendas where the Indians, under Spanish control, would weave up to 200,000 yards of fabric a year. That was traded locally or in Peru or Potosi. What started out hard for them has turned into a sustaining ability to earn a living to this day.

After the market we headed to Cayambe, parked the coach then walked to a most beautiful graveyard…it was a very busy place and across the street were little shops selling flowers for the grave yard. 2.00 for 2 dozen roses. We saw a funeral procession heading towards the graveyard with 4 people walking and holding the casket.

We also visited a bakery there and tasted Bizcochos, a biscuit that tastes a bit like a lighter version of a shortbread and is absolutely delicious. What they do with them is dip them into Manjarin de leche, or caramelized condensed milk – wow – my idea of breakfast! We bought many bags of these to munch on. We had to watch it though as we were headed to a beautiful old mill to have lunch.

 

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