Getting a different view of Quito

The Basilica Voto Nacional in Quito, Ecuador is one of the many stunning buildings you will see when wandering the streets of the old town. However, the Basilica uniquely offers an opportunity for a view with a difference… Here’s how spending a mere $2 challenged my fear of heights for good.

I’ve been scared of heights for as long as I can remember. A nervous moth begins to flutter in my stomach as I start to climb unfamiliar stairs,  it’s wings flapping more and more viciously against my guts with each step.  As I am nearing the top, I begin to suspect that some rare jelly making disease has over taken my legs as they struggle to hold my body weight. I want to hug the railing. Or sit down and cry.

Nothing had changed about this fear-filled state of mind before I set off on my round the world adventure. But 2014 was all about challenges for  me, and so… Yes! I thought it would be a great idea, (despite all warnings in popular travel guides) to climb to the top of the Basilica. I wouldn’t let a pesky moth tummy hold me back (I should note that I also have a phobia of moths!)

This is my photo tale of how a very pretty Basilica in Ecuador changed my scaredy mind forever…

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The stunning Basilica Voto Nacional, Quito from the wonderful, lovely, safe  ground.

 

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I wandered happily around the Basilica for quite a while in advance of making the decision to go inside. The beautiful bird gargoyles look down on you from the walls.

 

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Pay $2 to enter the tourist part of the building and you are immediately greeted by this colourtastic window. (Along with  a lot of tourists  wanting photos due to it’s mesmerising rainbow effect)

 

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Inside the Basilica the service can be seen from above. Voices hauntingly echo up while the tourists take snaps from above. This isn’t scary to look at. There is a solid floor from which to gaze down . It’s an almost peaceful height experience.

 

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If there is an actual warning sign in South America, you know it must be really dangerous. This is even warning against high heels like someone would think that was a good idea?!  (Errr, some  latino ladies did wear them on my visit! Brave? Crazy?)

 

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The first path within the warning zone. This shouldn’t be scary – it’s fairly solid wood. But it wobbles. And if you pass someone coming the other way, there is no choice but to go bum tinglingly close to the edge to pass… But I don’t think it’s potentially  fatal… at this point.
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Feeling proud of making it across the bridge with my eyes open, my next challenge was quickly introduced to me in the form of this thinly stepped ladder… Hello moth wings

 

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I successfully squeezed myself up the tiny ladder albeit slowly, and found myself above the gargoyle birds. Ground still fairly solid so  moth flapping nerves only at about 50%.

 

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A different view of local life can be seen from this halfway point.  I lingered a moment to watch the boys playing football at college.

 

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And now so much closer to those clocks I’d been admiring from the ground.

 

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A classic Quito view with the virgin watching over everyone

 

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Aha so that’s where people do their washing… I love being able to take a sneaky peak into other’s ways of life

 

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But the top tower is my ultimate destination and theres no getting out of it no matter how long I procrastinate on the superior Ecuadorian method of hanging clothes.

 

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This is the only way to get there. I didn’t take this photo – I was too scared to open my eyes at this point. Moth flappy, bum-tingly sensations had reached a peak.

 

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But it’s worth it. Look at the incredible view! I am at clock level

 

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I see places I would never have noticed without being in my new place, high in the sky.

 

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Quito old town and it’s mountainous background must be one of the most beautiful Latin American cities? (Discuss)

 

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The two clock towers are to be my next destination, if I can face going back down the terrifyingly tiny stairs. Which I can’t. So I stay at the top a little longer, trying to stop myself from floor hugging/ crying.

 

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Another beautiful view – shot to delay the inevitable descent. I did wonder  what they would do if I decided to live there just so I didn’t have to go on the stairs again.

 

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But eventually I make it and get back up the clock tower to look at where I had been. (The clock tower stairs are very sensible and not scary). Look at these people – they look so casual. I am so filled with such adrenaline and fear that I have to stop in the over priced cafe for a sugary milkshake

 

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If you’ve ever wondered how the clocks work… here’s the inside of the clock

 

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This little clock history gallery is again a little bottom-tingly due to the thin wooden platform it is viewed from.. At this point I am done for the day and the only place to go is back to the hostel for a lie down.

It was one of the most tremble-inducing experiences I’ve ever had, and if I’m honest it’s easier to remember it fondly now that it’s over… but…  I am no longer scared of heights. I recently climbed a tower and didn’t once get even the tiniest flutter of my moth friend even though all others in the group were nervously hugging the walls.

Facing fears can sometimes be one of the greatest parts of travelling and can make a lasting difference.

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A mind-changing day… and heres one more glance at that stunning view reward again… amazing.

The view is stunning, but would you have the stomach to climb to the top? 

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