Boasting the highest capital in the world at 2,800 m, Quito is a real charm. Huge city divided by the old and new and surrounded by domineering mountaineous terrain. I really liked this place, the old town is a real treat,winding cobbled streets with some amazing colonial buildings. The vulgar display of the gold leaf decor of the numerous churches is enough to warrant a visit. Quito is not without its troubles however and tourists are warned to be careful in places particularly at dark (duh!), although this is overstated and during the day for the most part is very safe. It does remind me of a trip to the cementry on the outskirts of the city having said that, a local police officer pulled up in his pickup and queried where we were going and warned us of the location we were entering. We carried on but kept it brief. at dark it certainly had the potential to be dangerous.
There is a lot of things to do in Quito. The cable car up to 4,100m is an awesome view and if you feel like climbing another two hours further there is the Pichincha volcano to whet your appetite. There are two other viewpoints worth looking at and that is the aluminium statue of a virgin madonna perched on the volcanic el Panecillo hill towards the south side of the city. This statue looks down at the twin towered Basilica church in the middle of the old city. The final climb up in the Basilica is reached by a few flights of nervewracking twisting iron stairs.
Apparently the most viewed attraction in the city is Mitad del Mundo, the world equator line near the new part of the city. Here you can walk on the actual line (both the historic one and the updated GPS one 200m away!). The equator line allows for some interesting phenomonen to occur including the water spin trick. On the equator line the water travels straight down while a meter or two north and south of the line the water flows clockwise and anti clockwise respectively, its true I seen it with me own eyes!!!
Some great markets in Quito and overall there is a real buzz about. Some people didnt warm to the place but I did. In fact I spent probably too much time here in light of the whole trip, wasnt helped by the delicious food and comfy beds that Community hostel provided!
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