Posts tagged: Clock Tower

Ecuador: Our Home Away From Home In Quito

By , November 8, 2010 5:00 am
Virgen de Quito On El Panecillo Volcanic Hill

Virgen de Quito On El Panecillo Volcanic Hill

We arrived in Quito, Ecuador on a Sunday and while it was quiet and chill for the most part, Amazonas Street was busy with bike riders and El Ejido park was filled with art vendors and families, especially children running around. For our first night, we stayed at Casa Bambu. We really enjoyed the rooftop setup and view, but we wanted something closer to the center so we moved to the Mariscal area.

Children Waiting To Zipline At El Ejido Park

Children Waiting To Zipline At El Ejido Park

While walking around Mariscal, there were lots of bars and restaurants that we knew instantly we were in gringoland. I couldn’t stop admiring this yellow house and after a few minutes, I saw a small sign on the window that said Home Hostel. Boris and I checked it out and the staff was so much friendlier, the interior of the house was magnificent, and we were in the heart of Mariscal, so we couldn’t refuse. Johnny, the owner, is so great that our one-night stay here turned into one week’s time.

The old town of Quito is without a doubt, a well-preserved center with many Spanish colonial style architecture and historic places to visit. It was very easy to roam for hours and get lost down an alley that leads to something great, like La Ronda. It was difficult to miss this alley, as there is a huge arm in the middle. During the colonial days, this was home to the most influential people due its close distance to the river. Later in the 20th century, it became a bohemian community where many poets, artisans, and musicians lived.

La Ronda Street

La Ronda Street

Giant Arm

Giant Arm

Not to be missed is La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus). From the outside, it looks like another church, but once you step inside, you are blinded by the amount of gold, seven tons of gold leaf to be exact. It took 160 years to complete construction of this great interior. I badly wanted to take a photograph but photography is prohibited inside and there was security at every direction. While I don’t like to pay entrance fees (they accept student id), I enjoyed my 15 minutes inside the church.

La Compania de Jesus

La Compania de Jesus

Many make it to the outside of Basilica del Voto Nacional (Basilica of National Vow) to see the gargoyles, but the best part of this unfinished neo-gothic basilica is actually inside. From the third floor, you can climb a metal winding staircase to leads to the inside of the clock tower. Then there is another set of narrow metal staircase that goes to the bell tower. When we peeped out, we could see the winged Virgen de Quito on El Panecillo volcanic hill. When we thought the tour was complete, it got even better. We climbed back to the third floor and crossed a wooden bridge to get to the other side. I started to get scared at this point since the bridge was a bit shaky and then we had to climb this steep ladder that led outside. We were right on the roof so it was hard to dismiss how high we were. Of course the fun just doesn’t stop. There is an outdoor metal staircase, for those daring enough to climb. It took me a few attempts to make it up, but as Boris said to me, I will not regret it. When I finally made it to the top, with a few locals laughing at me, I was wooed away with an incredible 360-degree panoramic view of Quito.

Circular View Of Quito

Circular View Of Quito

Inside The Clock Tower

Inside The Clock Tower

Roof Of Basilica del Voto Nacional

Roof Of Basilica del Voto Nacional

Overall, Quito is a great city to relax in and spend a few days to get acclimated to the altitude. We found a variety of cheap eats and booked a few tours during our stay. Thanks Johnny and Staff at Home Hostel for making us feel right at home.

Statue Of Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra, Former President Of Ecuador

Statue Of Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra, Former President Of Ecuador

Bridge Across Roof Of Basilica del Voto Nacional

Bridge Across Roof Of Basilica del Voto Nacional

Me & Frenchie

Me & Frenchie

Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco

Iglesia y Monasterio de San Francisco

Inside San Francisco Church

Inside San Francisco Church

What We Paid: Colombian
Pesos
1800
USD eRate
2500
Euro eRate
Ipiales
– Bus from Popayan To Ipiales: 8 hours 20,000 11.11 8
– Private Double Room with Shared Bath 15,000 8.33 6
– Dinner 11,900 6.61 4.76
– Collectivo from Ipiales To Border 1,500 0.83 0.60
USD eRate 1.4
Euro eRate
Quito
– Collectivo from Border To Tulcan, Ecuador 0.75 0.53
– Bus from Tulcan To Quito: 7 hours 3.50 2.45
– Private Double Room at Home Hostel
shared bathroom, hot water, wifi, great owner (Johnny) and staff, central location, free breakfast, highly recommend
15 10.50
– Lunch 2 1.40
– Dinner 5 3.50
– Local Bus 0.25 0.18
– Entrance To Basilica del Voto Nacional 2 1.40
– Entrance To La Compania de Jesus: student id accepted 1 0.70

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

Colombia: The White City Of Popayán

By , November 4, 2010 5:00 am
Beautiful Sky In Popayan

Beautiful Sky In Popayan

Before we crossed over to Ecuador, we made a stop in the town of Popayán. The white city walls, colonial architecture, and gastronomy draw made Popayán a great last stop in Colombia.

Street View Of Popayán

Street View Of Popayán

We took the long route to the top of El Morro de Tulcan (an Indian pyramid). We didn’t see the stairs so we climbed up and it was not a good idea to do it with sandals. Luckily, we made it to the top and it was a great view of downtown. The spot was also a popular location for young couples that were not shy about public affection.

Sunset From The Top Of El Morro De Tulcan

Sunset From The Top Of El Morro De Tulcan

It got dark very fast and the evening sunset colors exaggerated the white walls. There were lots of students hanging in the streets. While we were standing in Parque de Caldas, admiring the Clock Tower, it started to pour. We quickly headed to a nearby restaurant that looked nice. It was a romantic dinner among candlelight and the food was very tasty. While it would have been nice to celebrate with my family and friends, I still had a great birthday.

Happy Birthday MuiMui!

Happy Birthday MuiMui!

Creamy Trout

Creamy Trout

Thank you Boris!

Santo Domingo Church

Santo Domingo Church

Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora De La Asunción

Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora De La Asunción

Me & Frenchie

Me & Frenchie

What We Paid: Colombian
Pesos
1800
USD eRate
2500
Euro eRate
– Bus from Cali To Popayán: 4 hours 8,000 4.44 3.20
– Private Double Room at Los Portales Hotel:
private bathroom, hot water, wifi, friendly staff, clean and nice rooms
40,000 22.22 16
– Breakfast 5,000 2.78 2
– Lunch 6,500 3.61 2.60
– Dinner 20,500 11.39 8.20

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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