Where We Be
Quito, Ecuador
This is Plaza Grande (also called Plaza de la Independencia), the beating heart of Old Town Quito
Here you can see the pillars of the Palacia del Gobierno on the left, a gorgeously restored colonial building straight ahead, and the Plaza Grande to the right
Quito spreads out along the floor of a high Andean valley. Old Town is one small part  -- we'd say the best part -- of this bustling modern city.
The Monastery of San Francisco is currently being restored. Its plaza offers a welcome open space amidst the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Town.
The elevated pedestrian area near La Ronda offers a pleasant place to stroll.
We're not quite sure what this art installation is all about but it's colorful!
Flowered window sill on La Ronda
La Ronda is a lovingly restored street lined with 17th century buildings. It was once a bohemian sanctuary where artists and poets gathered.
The huge statue of the Virgin of Quito is visible from all over Old Town. She is one of only a handful of winged Madonnas in the world.
The lovely main entrance to the Basilica includes a heart-shaped window and a statue of Pope John Paul II
Stopping for a "batido" (fruit shake)
The electric shower leaves something to be desired -- it's turned on but you can hardly see the trickle of hot water! The woman who showed us
the room said not to worry about the electric wires on the shower since “the electricity isn’t all that powerful anyway.” We think she was joking.
The facade of La Compañia de Jesus includes spiraling columns and an ornate gold door -- hints of the splendors that lie within
The Palacio del Gobierno is the presidential palace on Plaza Grande.
You can watch the changing of the guard on certain days at 11 am.
At Museo de la Ciudad we happened upon this golden bull suspended
by wires in the back of a truck being unloaded into the museum
Robin finds a statue closer to her own size
We got our exercise climbing all over the Basilica!
Looking west from the top of the Basilica you can see Volcano Pichincha rising above the city
A small park called Parque Alameda stands between Old Town and New Town and includes this monument to Simon Bolivar
Quito Observatory in Parque Alameda was built in 1864 and is the oldest observatory on the continent
Parque Alameda offers a green oasis in the city. Just north of it is the much larger Parque El Ejido, which teems with activity especially on weekends.
View from the Condor Tower looking back at the dual clock towers
Probably the only church in the world decorated with gargoyles in the shape of marine iguanas!
The Basilica towers over Old Town. You can climb the Clock Tower at the front as well as the Condor Tower at the rear for terrific city views.
Quito as seen from the Basilica's clock tower. Quito is the second highest capital city in the world after La Paz, Bolivia.
You cross this wooden bridge inside the Basilica to get to Condor Tower
Room #1 in Colonial House Quito costs only $24 per night but offers a great balcony view plus private bath
Rarely have we enjoyed the insides of a church as much as this one. La Compañia de Jesus is undeniably ornate but never out of control. [Not my photos]
Quito's Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage
Site – in fact the very first UNESCO site in the
Americas. We followed
Lonely Planet’s Old Town
Walking Tour which starts at Plaza Grande and
winds through the cobblestone streets of the
colonial city. Plaza Grande itself is at the heart
of Old Town and is usually filled with locals
sitting on benches and enjoying the day. The
cathedral, presidential palace, and other finely
restored colonial buildings surround the plaza.

For us the highlight of our time in Quito was the
incredibly ornate La Compañia de Jesus. Work
on this Jesuit church began in 1605 and didn't
end until 160 years later, and when you see the
interior you instantly know why: it’s covered in
intricately worked gold leaf from tip to toe. The
use of simple geometric patterns and Moorish
design elements helps compensate for all that
over-the-top gold and the result is a surpris-
ingly beautiful church. Numerous windows let in
an abundance of light. It's a must-see in Quito!
The view from our balcony at Colonial House Quito looking
west towards the Basilica and Volcano Pichincha (far left)
Inside the cathedral on Plaza Grande is a painting of the Last Supper in
which the disciples are eating cuy (guinea pig) and humitas (tamales)!
We climbed the clock tower and bell tower for dramatic views over the city
The gargoyles at the top of Condor Tower are, appropriately enough, shaped like condors