Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands - 2001

Much of the content of Our Heritage website is devoted to Victorian Age exploration. Charles Darwin was a man who was at the centre of that universe and it has been a longtime dream to visit Darwin's "living laboratory." After hearing good reports regarding the Adventures Abroad program in other parts of the world we decided to take the plunge. We were not disappointed. Yes, there were glitches - there always are. But it was a great exploration. And exploring is what Our Heritage website is about. So let the adventure begin.

January 8, 2001

After spending the night at the Hotel Reina Isabel and having a breakfast with the most delicious juices ever, we had a tour of the city with our guide Paul. Leaving the hotel we soon saw a long lineup of people wanting to get papers to work in Spain. Our first stop was a viewing area where we got a look at the city and hills beyond.

Our next stop was the government building where a frieze along the outside wall tells Ecuador's story.

The heart of the ciy is dominated by the Plaza de la Independencia,. In 1822 the city was liberated by Antonio José de Sucre, a commander of the South American troops in their revolt against Spanish rule. The plaza is dominated by the Cathedral built in 1550-62 with grey stone porticos and green tiled cupolas . On its outer walls are plaques listing the names of the founding fathers of Quito and inside are the tomb of Sucre and and many 17th and 18th century paintings. The inside and the roof show a moorish influence.

Also across for the Plaza de la Independencia is the Palacio Presidencial.

Following down a narrow market street we arrived at the Monastery of San Francisco, Ecuador's oldest church. Construction began a few weeks after the founding of Quito in 1534 but it took 70 years to build.

Looking out across the the plain cobblestoned plaza of San Francisco, you see just two blocks away the church La Compania de Jesus. Constructed by the Jesuits starting in 1605 the year San Francisco was completed, it took 165 years to build and is considered the most ornate in Ecuador. While we continue to gaze across the plaza of San Francisco look up to the right and you will see our next stop -- the Virgin of Quito.

For lunch we travelled 22 km north of Quito to the Equator line monument, known as the "middle of the world", where you can stand with one foot in the northern and one foot in the southern hemisphere. Here we also visited the excellent museum containing exhibits of the many Indian tribes of Ecuador.

Continued ---Tomorrow we head for the Amazon

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