Kay's Round the World Trip 2006/2007 travel blog

Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande)


Guard outside the Palacio del Gobierno

Palacio Arzobispal



Cathedral door

Statue of Independence



Children on a school outing

A gathering of the masses outside the government palace

The women's protest







The Cathedral

Monastery of San Francisco

Plaza de San Francisco with La Virgen de Quito in background

Distinctive division between old Quito in foreground and new Quito behind

La Virgen de Quito on El Panecillo


View from traditional house at the Inti Nan museum

Buriel jar

Cooking pots and utensils

Cacti with white fungus which produces cochineal (red) dye

One foot on each hemisphere!


Leaves demonstrating how water runs down the plughole


Successfully balancing the egg on a nail

How to shrink heads Part 1

How to shrink heads Part 2

My unsuccessful attempts at using a blow-dart


Quito is separated into two distinct sections, the old and new cities which you can clearly see when you look down on the city from any high viewpoint. A small rounded hill called 'El Panecillo' or 'the little bread loaf' dominates the old town. I did a guided tour of the old town today and it was great to see the more colonial part of the city. It's full of historical buildings and churches and you get a real sense of history.

In the Plaza Grande, we saw the Government buildings as well as the Cathedral which was dripping in gold as most Catholic churches are! While we were there we came across a big demonstration by women from various indigenous populations who had come into Quito. It was fascinating to see them in their traditional costumes with their banners, chanting and demanding to be heard. What the banners were saying was that 'women don't need flowers they need jobs'. Many women about town were seen holding flowers to celebrate women's day.

After seeing the San Franciso church we drove up to the top of El Panecillo for a view over the city and to see the statue of the Virgin Mary which stands at the top. Following this we drove on to the town of Mitad del Mundo which literally means middle of the earth. At the Inti Nan museum we were able to stand either side of the Equator line and the guides did all sorts of experiments to prove how forces differ between the hemispheres and over the equator line itself. One of these involved trying to balance an egg on top of a nail-head. If you could do it you got a certificate and guess what -I was the only one in the group who managed it! The most famous experiment about Corioli's forces which everyone will probably know about is the direction that water goes down a plug-hole. Well I can confirm that over the Equator it runs straight down, in the southern hemisphere the water runs clockwise and in the northern hemisphere it runs anti-clockwise. It's amazing what an old sink, some water and a few leaves can demonstrate.

The rest of the museum showed more about the culture of the ancient civilizations including how they used to make shrunken heads! We also got to have a go at trying to blow a (poison-free) dart at a target. This I was less successful at, but at least I didn't hit any live targets unlike one of the ladies who almost killed a bird in a nearby bush.

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