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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Friday, June 04, 2010

Climbing Adventure!

I love old cities, old churches, and and the adventure of exploring them--particularly when it involves climbing. On the last day of my trip here in 2008, Megan and I walked up from the old historic district of Quito to the National Basilica of the Vote. The Diocese of Quito had this cathedral constructed in the 1940s & 50s(?) to rival the great cathedrals of Europe. I was very disappointed that the observation towers were already closed that day so today I gave it another try.

I never imagined how many different staircases, walkways, and ladders of various descriptions could be in one building. After a routine beginning of easy stairs and the first observation point I ventured a little farther and was surprised to discover a wooden walkway/gangplank constructed between the vaulted ceiling of the cathedral and the roof above. No handrails--only a strand of rope on each side to keep one from falling onto the ceiling! At the end of the walkway was a steel ladder which led to outside the roof and to two other ladders leading up to an open observation spot atop the northern spire of the church. (Lawyers in the U.S. would salivate over the potential for lawsuits!)

The views of Quito from that tower would have been well worth the $2 I spent to enter, but I wasn't done yet. I returned to the southern end of the building and this time followed more stairs and ladders up to the clock and then the bell tower above the clock. This spot towered well above even the southern spire. What a gorgeous vista! While there I got to meet a doctor and his family from Idaho spending the summer in Ecuador to learn the language. I also spoke with a young couple from Ecuador, Merlin and Fi, who were kind enough to take a picture with me in it.

Life is filled with twists and turns and sometimes daunting climbs. But often I find that the view from the top more than justifies the effort! Here's hoping that all my friends and family who read this will have some wonderful days filled with joy while we are away. Happy climbing!

PS--Our next few days are going to be pretty full with visiting family and an excursion away from Quito to an eco-lodge. There we will experience the cloud forest, visit waterfalls, sample exotic fruit, make chocolate(!), and perhaps relax a little. Please pray for us. God bless!