My first week in Quito I’ve spent doing day tours. Our hotel / hostel offers a walking tour of old town Quito, where we walked down the street of the 7 crosses, counting them as we meandered, and looked in a few of the churches they belonged to. Our guide, Daniel, gave us lots of good information about the history of Ecuador and Quito, the most interesting were the stories of the various presidents of Ecuador in the past have had to escape the presidential palace, or weren’t lucky enough to escape and paid the consequences. 1999 was an especially bad year, when several major banks closed their doors and their leaders fled to the US with all the money. Since then they’ve added some regulations to keep that from happening again.
My favorite church was one that was in a European style, but instead of Gargoyles they made statues of animals from the Amazon jungle. Another, one of the oldest, had a story behind its construction, that the builder had promised to complete it by a certain time, but realized there was no way he could make the deadline, so he sold his soul to the devil on the condition that the devil would send helpers to finish it off on time. At midnight on the last day, the church was complete, but the builder walked all around and “found” one brick that was out of place, breaking the conditions of his pact with the devil and thus saving his soul. To this day, they leave a hole in the wall where a brick should be.
Photos of old town Quito and our tour are here.