Ecuador 2006:  The Andean Highlands

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La Basílica in Quito.

My first day in Quito, I vowed to take it easy, get used to the 2800m (nearly 10,000 ft.) elevation, and simply see a few churches in the Old Town (historical center) of Quito. 

Although I knew that that the clock towers were 78m tall, I was told that there was an elevator. No problem.

But actually, the elevators only go up a few floors.  The rest is by stairs, and later on, by crude rebar ladders. 


The view, however, was spectacular, as you will see a few pictures below.

La Basílica in Quito.

The 78m twin clock towers of La Basílica, Quito, bracketing the enormous 41m statue of La Virgen atop the Panecillo in the distance.  

Inside the clock tower at La Basílica.


La Basílica, Quito.

La Mariscal nightlife, Quito.



Fundación Guayasamín, a complex atop a hill in the rich neighborhood of Bellavista.

This gallery highlights the work of Oswaldo Guayasamín, a leader in the indigenenous movement and one of Ecuador's most prominent painters.

One of the magnificent works of artist Oswaldo Guayasamín.

Yacu Amu Rafting and their most impressive trilingual skills!!!

I too can speak a little Australian...

El Mariachi Taco Factory and Red Hot Chili Peppers Mexican Restaurant in Gringolandia, Quito.


I took a bus to Cochasquí, and got dropped off just off the highway, where I walked up the road for 9k to get to the pre-Incan ruins. 

Beautiful walk. 

Although interesting, the pyramid ruins are not very impressive looking.  However, as you can see, the amazing views certainly are. 

This is a recreation of a typical dwelling by the Quitu-Cara people.

By the way, the ancient pre-Incan people knew that they were located in the middle of the earth - the word "qui" translates to "center", and can be found in many of the names around the area, such as Quito.

Interior of the recreated Cochasquí hut.



Having acclimatized somewhat in Quito, I took a bus to the Andean countryside west of Latacunga, first visiting to Laguna Quilotoa. 

This incredible crater lake has blue-green water and sandy 3500m (the rim is at 3854m, metric for "really freakin' high!").  It was extremely windy as well, and very beautiful.

Laguna Quilotoa.

Near Laguna Quilotoa.  The girl was digging a ditch as I waited for a bus to Chugchilán.  

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