Pichincha / Imbabura  
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Dispatch 2 - El Quinche
Guápulo Church, Quito

Volcano Cotopaxi

Out of Quito is a broad valley etched by rivers.  Immediately over the edge is Guápulo Church -- a neo-classical style building -- much more understated than the grand baroque and rococo churches in the city . It's down this valley that the first Spaniards walked on their 1452 expeditions to discover the Amazon.  Descending, there are a couple of places with beautiful views of majestic Mt. Cotopaxi, Ecuador's second highest volcano and peak. Francisco de Orellana
Quito cyclovia (rail trail), map

Quito cyclovia (rail trail)

The most serine was to traverse this area is along an abandon early 20th century railroad line.  It winds along the edge of the hills, always ascending and descending with gentle slopes.  The route is enhanced by vintage bridges and tunnels, and some rugged landscape.
Quito cyclovia (rail trail) Quito cyclovia (rail trail) Quito cyclovia (rail trail)
Quito cyclovia (rail trail), tunnel
Cathedral El Quinche from a distance

Cathedral of El Quinche

The white and blue Cathedral of El Quinche faces the central square.  In late November, every year, thousands of people walk down the Quito valley to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Quinche. They carry torches or pocket lamps and tell stories of miracle healings. Cathedral of El Quinche interior Cathedral of El Quinche interior
Virgin of El Quinche Part of the draw of the Cathedral of El Quinche is the Virgin of El Quinche.  If you drink the water there (right) it is suppose to bring good luck. Virgin of El Quinche
  On a long wall outside of the Cathedral is a wall of plagues with hundreds of testimonials attesting to all the miracles and good luck people have had after praying at the Cathedral of El Quinche. Cathedral of El Quinche
  The cemetery of El Quinche cemetery of El Quinche
  Children playing a tradition Ecuadorian game where one top is used to try and know other tops out of a circle.  With this spin the girl is about to knock one of the other tops out. Children playing tops
The clerk waits for customers at one of several bakeries in El Quinche (left) and a man pulling taffy by hand in front of a confectionary shop on the main square in El Quinche (right). man pulling taffy by hand
   

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