The drive to Quito goes past several national parks located around the volcano’s. Unfortunately our turbo does not give us a boost anymore so we do not dare to make too many unnecessary detours and climbs. In the centre of Quito we parked on the parking lot of a large park. Because it was Sunday it was packed. Everywhere there were food stalls and on the open spaces softball and football was played. In the morning at 6:00 we were woken up by all the people who want to do their morning run or joined the public group Zumba lessons. After breakfast we walked up to the main road and took the “Metro-Bus” into the old city centre. Finding the bus going in to town was relatively easy. Getting on the right one in the evening going back was a lot harder. It was raining and the metro bus stops are few and far in-between.
The Plaza Grande in Quito is spacious and beautiful. It is surrounded by interesting old buildings such as the Cathedral and the presidential palace. We missed the weekly changing of the guards because the time was brought forward from 11 to 9 am. This time we took a paid city walking tour but to be honest the “free”ones we had in other city’s given by students were much more interesting. The city center is built on a ridge. It slopes up on one side and down on the other. Still it was more flat and spacious than for example La Paz.
The Baroque Jesuit church (1700) stands out as being the most decorative one in S. America. All statues and most of the ceiling carvings are covered with gold leaf.
The Cathedral Metropolitana, which covers one complete side of the Plaza Grande, has the familiar square brick pillars covered with highly decorated plaster. The altars again are covered with gold leaf.
Like in Cusco, the Franciscan convent is the largest with an impressive church. They already started building it a few weeks after the founding of the city in 1534.
On the south side of town there is a large statue of the Virgin Maria. While on the north side there is a large Gothic church which was built around 1900. They levelled a hill top to fit the structure.
The next morning we had a nice warm shower in the nearby sport club and crossed the park to have a Dutch breakfast at Jurgen Cafe (a Dutch bakery). After that, it was time to restart the drive North. It would have been nice to spend more time in Quito but we just do not know how long it will take to drive the remaining 1500 km over the mountains of Colombia, considering the condition of the camper.