Travels with V

Peru & Ecuador

In the house of Quito's great painter​

Quito part two

We go for a walk around Quito, a city full of beautiful colonial architecture. A bit like Havanna, but better preserved. Lots of impressive churches and palaces. It’s a strenuous walk, the town is very hilly in places.

But it’ also unsafe for tourists in some places, and during our walk a tourist police asks in a friendly tone where we intend to go. –You can go one block this way, then you should turn left. It’s not safe to go further. Ok, we think. So why isn’t the police there? And we turn left.

Some pictures from the beautiful white city of Quito:

The next day is spent taking in some of Quito’s great cultural and historical heritage. Our first goal is Capilla del Hombre and the Guayasamin museum. Oswaldo Guayasamin was certainly Ecuador’s and probably South America’s greatest artist, and insanely successful in his active period between the 1940s and the 1990s. A fascinating man, moving in different styles and materials, a believer in socialism and humanism and counted both Fidel Castro and US liberal politicians as his friends.


Guayasamin believed strongly that the cruelties of war and exploitation could be turned by solidarity and love. It’s a comforting outlook, but today it seems more and more like a dream, and I think Guayasamin himself would be utterly disappointed with the contemporary world, now that the destructive powers that he fought against are again on the rise. All over the world, sadly.

But Guayasamin died in 1999 and his home, a beautiful and spacious villa overlooking the city of Quito is now a museum where his art is on display, side by side with works of other artists that he admired, like Chagall. There’s also a big collection of indigenous art, in his bedroom there’s a series of erotic Indian sculptures, some even involving more that two persons. You may not take photos here.

Later in the day we move down to the National Museum, an ultra-modern creation where art and objects are displayed in accordance with some theme that we can’t comprehend. But it’s great, and shows many aspects of the history of colonization in Ecuador. But there’s no reference anywhere to today’s political problems.

After two nights we are transferred to another hotel, with a lot more comfort and warmth. And perhaps less charm. But this one has a restaurant, a very pleasant place with excellent food. If only there wasn’t this annoying guitar player with a neckstand for a pan flute. Beatles, ABBA etc, of course followed by El condor pasa, a song that already gave us a headache in Peru. And it’s not better here.

Now we take a big leap straight into the heart of the Amazonian jungle. A world of rivers and canoes and ramshackle houses. 

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