Tuesday, August 23, 2011

VIVA Travel guide review. Thank you, Lorraine.

A copy of Tyler Burgess’ Quito, Ecuador Townscape Walks landed in V!VA Travel Guide‘s office. The small, paperback guide has instructions of 12 routes in the Old Town, Mariscal and New Town, with hints on what cafés, plazas, museums, churches and other sites to knowin Quito. Leafing through the hand-illustrated booklet, I became intrigued. In all of my years of visiting Quito, Ms Burgess proposes places I’d never explored.
Quito, Ecuador Townscape Walks by Tyler Burgess
I decide to undertake the three walks in the Centro Histórico. The first, from Plaza Grande to La Basílica (4 kilometers / 2.5 miles), which will visit not only the Basílica, but also the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Museo Sucre and the Catedral de Quito.
The Old Town walks begin from Plaza Grande.
The second route will take me from the Plaza Grande, to the Centro Cultural Metropolitano and the Compañía church, up to Iglesia de San Francisco and its museum, and finally down to La Ronda (2.75 kil
ometers / 1.7 miles).
Another trek, again beginning at Plaza Grande, has the goal of Iglesia de San Diego
and its cemetery, and the top of El Panecillo (7.7 kilometers / 4.8 miles).Next week I shall share one of the adventures here in this space.
Quito, Ecuador Townscape Walks is not a guide with descriptions of each site. It is only a collection of a dozen circuit maps, with suggestions of places to visit. Throughout, Tyler Burgess weaves in several handy features, like where to stop for a fresh fruit juice or where there are bathrooms. The booklet is illustrated with sketches of things you’ll see along the way. She takes her fellow walkers into the back streets of Quito, where few tourists ever venture, to see the daily life of Quiteños behind the façade.
Some of the routes are through neighborhoods that, after dark, do have some security
problems; but as long as you hoof around during day
light hours and use common-sense security measures (keep valuables back at the hotel, don’t flash your camera, take only the money you’ll need and go with another person), you should do okay. An additional map of the city is also handy. The walks, none of which are more than 8.5 kilometers (5.2 miles), can be quite aerobic, taking on Quito’s many hills.
And this is not a surprise, considering Burgess’ life. Born in 1950 in Wyoming, she spent her adult years in Montana and Oregon. She has always been an outdoors enthusiast. In her 40s, she played soccer, performed triathlons and undertook solo backpacking trips. She coaches marathon and fitness classes. Burgess also organizes walking tours across Ireland, England, Italy and Morocco, as well as in several US cities. A few
years ago, she was a Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim, walking the 880-kilometer (550-mile) route alone.
Ms Burgess has written Townscape Walks for Seattle, Oregon, Eugene and Portland. This is is her first one in a foreign land. If you are interested in learning more about the books, visit www.walk-with-me.com.
Review by Lorraine Caputo of Quito, Ecuador

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Germany, May 8 to May 18, 2011

This pilgrim statute about 500 years old, well preserved in a little church.

Start at the pilgrim statute in front of the cathedral in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

I walked 165 miles of the medieval pilgrim's path through Germany; headed toward Santiago, Spain. Carrying a small back pack, I found a bed in a private home or small hotel every 11 to 20 miles. No reservations, no worries. The countryside, with yellow blossoms of grape seed, green wheat fields, and enticing forests, was well marked with the shell of the pilgrim. Slightly rolling with lots of flat, paved paths along the Rhine River.

Beautiful weather, chocolate ice cream every afternoon in yet another charming village.
Cuckoo birds in the forests. One is fine, more, well it was enough to drive me cuckoo.