The panorama from Basilica del Voto Naciona

The panorama from Basilica del Voto Naciona

Brave visitors to Quito need get their bearings only one way – from atop the spires of the Basilica del Voto Nacional. A vertiginous series of lifts, ladders and ledges rewards you with a panorama that widescreens lens are made for. Things start conventionally enough – a walk through the church’s serene sanctuary and neat nave, followed by a look at the third floor gallery. Then, it’s all change : a winding metal staircase leads into the clock tower. From there, across some planks for flooring, and up increasingly narrow metal ladders, you go out through the roof past a rogue’s gallery of grotesques, and finally into the bell tower. From there, the views – particularly back to the old town and to El Panecillo Hill – are stunning, and worth every shaky footstep up. A unique, heart-quickening experience.

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