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The faces of Quito: capturing the city from the heights

Quito is a multifaceted city. From its architecture, people and the nature that stands between the buildings, it offers various nuances to the city, which are discovered when changing the viewing perspective aboard the Quito Tour Bus. With my camera in my hand, I wanted to venture to discover the different faces of the face of God.


From the first stop, I found traits that the capital doesn’t show at first sight. The change of perspective when traveling on the second floor of the bus, showed me unique landscapes. To start, passing through the neighborhood of La Mariscal, I saw the Victorian look of the facades of the houses like something out of a postcard of a small European village. I knew that the first occupants of the sector designed their homes in this way to distinguish themselves from the rest. That is why, when the bus stopped at Plaza Foch, I took advantage of it taking a photo with the stonework and the greenery of the trees in the background.


The journey continued to Quito’s downtown. We ascend to the hill of San Juan to visit the Contemporary Art Center, which operates in the remodeled facilities of the Old Military Hospital. I was struck by its classic and modern design. But when I turned my gaze I found the whole north – central Quito greeting me, so I saved it with my camera before the bus start again.


Later, I found myself face to face with the Church of La Basilica. This catholic monument is a tribute to the european neo gothic and also to the native species of Ecuador, which are seen in the gargoyles that protect the temple. There are urban myths about its construction, the most notably: when it finished placing the last stone in the church, it will begin the end of the world. Undoubtedly, this is an unmissable moment to take a picture.

We follow the bus route and descended into the heart of the historic center, down the street García Moreno. The steepness of this road feels like going on a roller coaster, with the same excitement, but not the speed. As we got off, I wondered, should I take the risk or not? As the bus was moving a little, I overcame my fear, I stood up and took a selfie of me with the most original background of the trip.


On the bus, I could look closely at the balconies of the colonial houses and the geranium pots that adorn them. I saved them with my camera because they are those details that are rarely seen. Arriving at the Plaza Grande, I didn’t waste time and took me a picture with the Palace of Carondelet, where sometimes the President shows to greet the people. I turned the camera towards La Catedral,  to take a picture of a rooster Quito legend, which is in the dome. A few meters then, the Baroque construction of the Church of the Company appeared. My eyes were lost in the trappings of its facade. This is one of the most impressive religious buildings in the center of the capital.


Along the way, we cross the Cemetery of San Diego, a gloomy and traditional place, where rest from the first to the new generations. To reach the Panecillo, the bus advanced along a winding road surrounded by the vegetation of the mountain, which revealed a little of the urban landscape. At the top of the hill, the Virgin of Quito welcomed us with open arms. The sculpture, that look after of the quiteños is more imposing closely, not for nothing is considered one of the highest in the region. Its design is inspired by the carved work of the artist Bernardo de Legarda. It was inevitable not to take a picture with her.


To rest a little, I got off the bus and walked around the place. I found a small market of handicrafts, which solds from scarves and coats for the cold, to miniature figures of the monuments of Ecuador. As it was time to eat, I walked to a mini food court that awaited me with typical dishes like “fritada” and “motes con chicharrón”, even with “canelazos”, hot mulberry and naranjilla drinks, which offer warmth to any diner.


Getting off the Panecillo, we returned to the center by the Avenida 24 de Mayo. Underneath one of the bridges of the street appears, hidden, “La Ronda”. Formerly, the small street Morales, as it was known, served as a route crossing a ravine and eventually, it became home to the bohemian ones. Now it is a tourist site where there are crafts workshops, restaurants and bars. The angle offered by the double-decker bus, made me took a picture of this small place. From here, we move away from the colonial landscape, which started to became a more cosmopolitan.


As we returned to the north along the Occidental avenue, another of the dualities of Quito stood out. On the one hand, the forest of buildings of the north and on the other hand the green of the slopes of the Pichincha mountain. Afterwards, we went down the Mariana de Jesus avenue and crossed underpasses, where I could feel adrenaline again.


Arriving at the final stop and with a good shots of the capital, I realized that you can always rediscover the spaces in which one lives. For foreigners, meet a new destination from a different perspective, it is doubly venture, as it will witness those things that, perhaps, the locals have ignored. Seeing me face to face with the other faces of the city, I felt that reality has different perspectives that can always being seen when trying new experiences.

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