Posts Tagged ‘Pichincha Volcano’


 (January 2009)

Quito is approximately 2800 metres above sea level and even though the altitude isn’t that much higher than Mexico I felt it right away. The historic part of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I stayed at a popular hostel in Old Town with great views and food. As usual, I roamed around and explored the area on foot. I was very conscious of being stared at! The city does draw international tourists and the country is touted as a great outdoor and adventure destination, but, I suppose, solitary middle-aged female foreigners are not yet the norm.

My wanderings took me through the Old Town highlights such as Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza San Francisco and museum, Santo Domingo and the very ornate church of the Compania de Jesus. I passed through Parque la Alameda, sort of the divider between old and new town, a couple of times, it’s a nice peaceful green space with an observatory. I visited the excellent Casa de la Cultura anthropology museum in New Town and I took the teleferico up to the top of Pichincha Volanco. The view over Quito at 4100 metres above sea level is incredible!

I opted to do the really touristy thing and visit the equatorial monument. Mitad del Mundo is about 20 kms from Quito and I decided to go by public transit. After flagging down about half a dozen or so buses, none of which would get me to the part of the city where I thought I had to go to get a connecting bus, I took a cab to the intersection mentioned in my book. The Mitad del Mundo monument and equatorial line are actually about 163 metres off the true centre. The small solar museum beside the complex is interesting – they’ve developed a world map showing all the constellations according to the “true” rotation around the sun.

Quito from atop Pichincha Volcano

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