Quito, Ecuador’s capital city at 2800m
Our small group of 4 people had arrived in the Hotel de la Rabida in Quito the previous evening. The program on this first day consisted of a guided tour of the historic city centre. Quito is situated at an average height of about 2800m but has considerable height differences between the various parts. Our tour started with a view across the city followed by a visit to a modern Gothic Basilika with interesting gargoyles in the form of native animals such as leopards, iguanas or tortoises. Then we were driven to the Plaza Grande with its Monument to Independance in the centre of the old colonial town, where we visited the Jesuit church of La Compania de Jesus, which is richly decorated with gold-leaf both inside and out, and the nearby and hardly less impressive Franciscan Monastry. A visit to the equatorial monument, Mitad del Mundo, followed straight away, so that both of our guided tours were fitted into a long morning and we were free in the afternoon to make our own tour round the newer part of the town. Rather too late at the end of the afternoon we discovered the National Museum of the ‘Banco Central del Ecuador’ containing interesting pre-columbian art, pottery and gold objects.