Quito & Otavalo Feb 2014

Quito is the capital of Ecuador and it is the highest official capital city in the world at 2,850 meters above sea level.  We did a full day city tour with a private guide who took us to a few churches, up to the Panecillo mountain where the winged Virgin Mary looks over the city, and the old town area of La Ronda.  For the best Panama hats, head to Homero Ortega on Plaza San Francisco. Turns out the Panama hat is actually Ecuadorean in origin.

20140214_113549Today is Valentine’s Day and there are street vendors selling flowers at every corner.

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DSC03484San Francisco Church

DSC03479Compania de Jesus Church

DSC03481Compania de Jesus Church

DSC03456Cute place for a coffee.

DSC03463Some colonial buildings in Quito use animal bone for decoration on the floor.

DSC03476The winged Virgin Mary overlooking the city from Panecillo Mountain.

DSC03442Basilica de Quito with its gargoyles which are native to Ecuador such as the condor, iguanans, giant tortoises, and the boobies.

DSC03444Notice the iguana gargoyles.

DSC03450Inside the Basilica de Quito

Calle la Ronda is one of the oldest streets in Quito. The street is narrow and completely renovated with signs describing some of the artists and houses they used to live in.

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DSC03499Calle la Ronda – one of the oldest streets in Quito.

DSC03504Peruvian coin toss game called Sapo (which means Frog in Spanish). The object of the game is to throw coins into the frog’s mouth from four or five paces away. If the coin doesn’t go into the frog’s mouth but falls into one of the various holes, you still get points.

One of the popular excursions from Quito is a visit to the Otavalo Market about 2 hours north.  The market is busiest on Saturdays when many indigenous people bring their wares from neighboring villages.  The Otavaleno people are most famous for their weaving.  The market is packed with textiles, hats, leather goods, silver jewelry with a large animal and vegetable market adjacent.

20140215_101314The main square at Otavalo. It looks like the chief is looking up at the pigeon on his head. LOL

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