Tuesday 1st November 2011

Quito, Ecuador

Just a quick post for now, as I am busy preparing for a short trip to Galápagos, starting early tomorrow morning. I arrived here in this wonderful city two days ago, and since then I have been engaged in a nostalgic revisiting of so many places that are charged with memories from the very happy, adventure-filled year I spent here in 1983/84.

Yesterday I wandered around the commercial area known as Mariscal (nowadays known as “Gringolandia”, due to its popularity with travelling gringos), in which I worked as an English teacher all those years ago, and today I headed for the incredibly beautiful, and now very clean and apparently safe old colonial section of the city. I visited many of the ornate churches, and I even attended a mass in the church of San Francisco.

Palacio del Gobierno as seen from the Cathedral, Quito

San Francisco, now undergoing restoration

Typical street scene in colonial Quito

I then took a taxi to the top of El Panecillo, a hill that offers the most wonderful panoramic views of almost the entire city, which must be twice the size it was when I first visited, and as the weather was clear and bright, I was treated to splendid views of the snow-capped volcanoes that surround the city: Cayambe, Antisana, and the near perfect cone of Cotopaxi.

A view of Quito from El Panecillo with Volcan Cayambe in the distance

A view of Quito with Cayambe beyond

Detail of the colonial part of Quito, as seen from El Panecillo

La Virgen de Quito, El Panecillo

Following this, I headed for the station of Chimbacalle, where I was encouraged to find that the Ecuadorian rail system seems to be finally enjoying something of a renaissance – I was even able to book a train journey for next Friday, something I was never able to do when I lived here, as the entire network had come to a complete standstill.

The Ecuadorian railways are on the move again!

I must go to pack now, but there will be many more adventures to relate when I return from the Galápagos Islands on Sunday.

Cayambe from the north of the city

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