Monday, 17 February 2014

Ecuador - Quito II

Quito sprawls right below a volcano, with a gondola going up to one of its ridges at 4050m elevation.  We walked from the gondola station through the beautiful grassy paramo - open alpine meadows - up to about 4250m, stopping to breathe every 100 steps.  I drew the peak, by far my highest-elevation on-the-ground drawing.

Back in the city, we climbed up the huge basilica.  It's not a good idea for people who are afraid of heights, because the last part of the climb is on a set of rickety ladders on the outside of the top of the tower.  But it has a great view of the old part of Quito.  Instead of gargoyles, the gothic cathedral has parrots, penguins, boobies, frigatebirds, toads, and, at the top, condors.  A church for naturalists.  Many parts of the adornments on the building seem to be missing, presumably cast down by God to smite passing sinners.  The architecture is immensely elaborate - the only way to cope with drawing all that complexity from the top of one of the towers is to do it really quickly.

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