Friday, November 6, 2015

Breathless Day Touching The Sky.....In Ecuador

The next morning was bright and sunny which seemed like the perfect time climb the Pichincha Volcano to 15,696 feet.  How we chose to do so was with the help of a cable car which is Spanish is called a "telefèrico." Our taxi dropped us nearby and we had to hoof it up a long hill to buy our tickets. The cable car whisked us from 10,000 feet up to 13,451 feet in a matter of about ten minutes. Even the slightest amount of exertion caused us to become slightly breathless and we had to take it easy.  Clyde and I walked around climbing partially up the trails to the top.  Quickly we were both breathing hard with little exertion since the air was thin and oxygen was minimal.  The trails to the top of the volcano could be tackled by foot or horse since there were some for rent. But since Clyde was already experiencing a slight headache, a sign of altitude sickness we opted for safety and didn't venture out too far.

We're Going Up There?

Heading Up On Cable Car

Those Squiggly Bars Are To Take Bikes Up
For Riding Down

Baby It's Gonna Be Cold Up There!

I'm Not Drunk Just A Bad Picture

Posing Near The Top

On Our Way Down We Caught Some Pics Of Cyclists Going Down
Clyde And Some Llamas On Top
This Is A Mother, Father And Baby 

But it was on our way back down in the cable car that we were alone with no other passengers. Perhaps had enough togetherness and were getting on each others nerves? Perhaps Clyde was tired of me and decided to jump out of the cable car at 13,000 feet?  Or just maybe I'd had enough of him and decided to give him a bit of a push? Or maybe the reality of it all is that there was a photo shop at the top that was making cutsy photos for the tourists?  Yes it's the later that's true!  We had this photo made for just $4. It was done against a green screen with me standing on a stool and Clyde lying on the floor propped up on his elbow. Then he was made to lift his leg and arm so I could hang onto him as if I were trying to save him from falling to his death. Afterwards the girl carefully edited out all of the green from the background before adding a new background of our choice. No we aren't tired of each and get along wonderfully wherever we are and are looking for more adventures in the future.

Here's The Proof That I Saved His Life.....Maybe?
View Of Volcano In Background

Back in the city we went out exploring as this was our last full day in Quito.  First stop was at the Presidential palace to see if we could get in. The next tour wasn't until 5:30 and since we needed to get to a hotel near the airport for an early flight out the next day, we had to pass. Instead we took a taxi over to La Basilica for our next adventure.

Heading To The Church Towers
The Streets Were All Uphill And We Were Tired Before We Got There

La Basilica allows tourists to climb 375 feet to the top of its clock towers, but this climb is not for the faint of heart.  We paid our $2 each and began our trek up the first set of stairs which were rather easy.  We came upon a platform thinking the worst was over when we noticed a rickety, wooden suspension bridge.  It spanned over the large arches of the basilica which were nothing more than a deep pit of concrete.  It did have some ropes to be used as handrails and wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. In front of us was the first ladder we'd have to climb up to the next level.  The ladder went straight up to a tiny platform which led to more ladders of the same kind. Eventually we made our way to the top which offered up a 360 degree view of Quito in all its splendor. But now we had to make our way back down the step at a time.

Yep We're Going Up There!

Looking Down Into The Church

Another View

Wobbly, Wooden Bridge To Cross
See The Tiny Ladder At The End

Going Up

We Made It!!!

What.....More Stairs? There's Another Tower Over There

And Another View From The Top

Large Stained Glass Window

Large Organ

After leaving the basilica we were tired but pumped that we'd made the climb after already tackling some thin mountain air and hiking.  Since it was way after lunch time we managed to find a place that was still serving.  A tiny hole in the wall family run restaurant offered soup, a hamburger with salad and rice for just $2.00. For some reason the women thought we only ordered one meal which worked out being fine.  Clyde ate the soup with some of my rice while I ate the burger patty which was served without bread, and the salad.  Alongside we were served a bowl of "canchas" similar to corn nuts. They are a special type of corn that's toasted and to me they tasted like burnt popcorn.  But Clyde liked them and even took the leftovers in the plastic bowl to go.

Lunch....Bowl Of Toasted Corn Nuts

The Menu Of The Day Sign
Sopita Colada de Haba con Tostado
Segundo Amburgesa, Jugo $2.00

Toasted Corn Nuts

Since we had just a few hours left to explore the city we opted to pay $4 each to check out a local church.  The Church of the Society of Jesus, (Iglesia de La Compañia de Jesus) is one of the best known churches in Quito.  A Jesuit church most famous for being covered entirely in gold on the inside is a breathtaking spectacle of Baroque architecture.  While I was against paying to enter a church I'm glad we did.  It was worth seeing this magnificent, opulent building completely covered in gold leaf.  On our walking tour our guide explained that Ecuador become world known for its technique of gold leaf before it was commonly used. The church took 160 years to complete and is to this day rather expensive to maintain and that's why they charge for admission.  We were absolutely forbidden to take photos inside but I managed to borrow some from the internet to be shown here.

Iglesia de Compañia de Jesus Catholic Church

Inside......All That Glitters IS Gold!

Just Amazing!

Everything Is Covered In Gold! 
Then we stopped into the tourist information center and Clyde asked the girl what was the best museum in the city to visit?  She suggested the Museo de la Ciudad which used to be a hospital. Founded in 1998 it was once San Juan de Dios Hospital and featured various collections including some old hospital equipment. But once again no photos were permitted and there was not much to borrow from the internet either. I also think by this time we'd had enough of picture taking and were just looking to relax.
Puppies For Sale On The Street

Museum Of The City

Since we had an early flight in the morning back to Panama and the airport is about an hour outside of Quito, our plan was to settle in for the night in a hotel nearby the airport. Clyde had made reservations and we jumped into a taxi for the ride.  The taxi driver immediately knew where the hotel was but insisted that it was NOT near the airport.  With that in mind Clyde phoned a friend for advice on another airport hotel.  Our friend John called to make reservations for us in a family run hotel.....B&B sort of place.  Located in the town of Tababela, Hosteria San Carlos was a lovely surprise just a few miles from the airport.  Immediately I felt like I was at home with cozy rooms and a warm welcome. The hotel was situated on a large piece of land with beautiful trees, chirping birds and silence from the hustle and bustle of big city life. 
Outside Our Room

View From Balcony

Outdoor Patio

Dining Room

We enjoyed a home cooked meal in their dining room sitting in front of a nicely decorated Christmas tree.  The meal consisted of soup, grilled chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, green beans with carrots, fresh juice and a scoop of ice cream for dessert. We retired in luxury for the night with plenty of blankets on a soft, fluffy mattress after taking hot showers.  The cost for this luxury in Tababela, Ecuador was $70 not including the price of the meal that was around $7 each. The next morning they drove us to the airport bright and early where we waited patiently for our flight back to sea level. 
Sunset Over Tababela, Ecuador

Our trip to Ecuador was just wonderful filled with excitement, new friends, and reaching new heights in the Andes Mountains.  Perhaps if it was just a tiny bit warmer we might go back again to stay?  So many countries to visit, with plenty more on the horizons as we explore this wonderful world of ours.....along the gringo trail.,_Ecuador)

1 comment:

  1. Clyde and Terry, your fellow Texans still want to hear about life in Panama too! Hope you won't just be posting when you're house sitting somewhere else. Regards, Troy


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