One of our final items of business in Quito was to explore the neighborhood of Guapulo, not exactly an easy feet on foot from Old Town, but undoubtedly worth it.
Lonely Planet had this to say about Guapulo:
If you follow Avenida 12…you’ll reach the Hotel Quito at the top. Behind the hotel, stairs lead steeply down the other side of the hill to the historic neighborhood of Guapulo. The views all the way down here are magnificent.
Now, who can resist such an invitation? Even if it means a five mile round trip from our hostel…
But first, a word from the President…
Yep. It was only inevitable that we’d run into President Correa yet a second time on our way to Guapulo. Our route to Guapulo took us right by the National Assembly, where we encountered another gathering much like the one the day before. And of course the president was there, and his posse, and his band, yada yada. Just another day in Quito, I guess.
One thing that was really cool about this presidential sighting was that we were intercepted by two teenage girls who asked to interview us for a school project. Naturally, I let Lori do all the talking, mostly because her Spanish is lightyears ahead of mine and, well, let’s face it, she just likes to gab.
From Hotel Quito, we got our first glimpse of Guapulo. There’s a statue here of Francisco de Orellana, who is looking down into the valley. The actual De Orellana was the first European to make the descent from the Andes to the Atlantic via the Amazon River in 1541. In fact, the Amazon was previously named the Rio de Orellana.
His 2,500 mile journey started at this very point.
Something tells me, however, that de Orellano did not encounter this on his way down the hill.
A ways down the hill we arrived at the centerpiece of Guapulo, the beautiful 17th century Sanctuary of El Guapulo. Well, not quite yet, we still had some walking to do.
“Today, I love you more than yesterday, but less than tomorrow…” Awww, you are just the sweetest thing, Sidewalk.
Looking back up at where we came from.
Finally, the Sanctuary of El Guapulo — a fitting end to our final day in Quito, which in itself is a culmination of six weeks of overland journeying from Lima to Lake Titicaca, to the Andean highlands, Amazon jungle and along the Pan-American Highway up through Ecuador. We’ve loved our time in South America and hope to return very soon — perhaps for six months instead of weeks, next time.
One journey ends, but another begins. Hasta luego, Ecuador!