Today, our Spanish teacher, Maribel, thought we deserved a treat. So, she took us to the basilica in Quito (La Basilica de Quito – clever name right?).
It’s only a short bus ride and a few blocks walk from our Spanish School, Simon Bolivar.
To go up to the top costs $2. And, one thing Jonathan and I have learned is that it is ALWAYS worth it (vale la pena) to go to the top of church towers (Milan, Granada, Munich, Berlin, etc.).
With La Basilica de Quito, however, there’s an elevator to take you up one side. It won’t take you all the way to the top, but it will take you to the balcony to overlook the interior of the church, and it will take you up to an outdoor balcony with a great view.
Make sure that you go up all the towers of La Basilica de Quito (there are 3). There’s the clock tower with a great view of Colonial Quito (to the south). Inside the clock tower, there are also bells.
The bells are wishing bells. You make a wish, and then ring the bell.
Jonathan got a little aggressive with his bell-ringing (he REALLY wanted his wish to come true – he says he did it because Maribel (our teacher) told him to ring the bell “mas fuerte”).
He rang the bell so loudly that it set of a car alarm!
Watch the video to see:
I also discovered one of Maribel’s secrets at the top of this tower. She’d written her name on the wall. (OK, it really wasn’t her, but it was fun to be able to tease her about it in Spanish.)
When crossing from one tower to the other, you walk across a small wooden bridge over the top of the ceiling of the church.
It was pretty amazing. I’ve never done that before.
From there we climbed a few steep ladders to get to the top of the other tower.
This tower looks over the north side (more modern) of Quito. It wasn’t possible for us to see our apartment from here, but I did know my directions well enough to point out approximately where the school would be.
Maribel also told us that it was funny to watch Americans and Europeans come up here, because they are always scared. She told us that Ecuadorians are fearless and will climb the ladders like nothing.
She even told us that she came up when she was 8 months pregnant. She wanted to give her baby a rush of adrenaline before it was even born so that it too would be fearless. (My guess, is that this baby is now known as Pacito.)
What a really great activity for the day. We are learning Spanish better and better every minute, and it was fun to be able to talk and joke with Maribel as we visited the tallest church tower in South America, La Basilica de Quito.
I think I’m going to rename it La Basilica del Sol, because it’s probably the church closest to the sun as well.
Hi Carrie and Jonathan,
I really enjoyed this look at the Basilica in Quito. Back in 1984-1986 I lived in Quito and worked at radio station HCJB on Calle Voz Andes. Thanks for posting this.
Hey Jan! I’m really glad you enjoyed our look at the Basilica! Where do you live now?