In the old town of Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is a cathedral unlike any other I have ever visited. La Basílica del Voto Nacional combines an appreciation for religious architecture with an almost adventure sport activity that will chill to the bone anybody with the slightest phobia of heights. I had read up on La Basílica before visiting, so I thought I knew what to expect, but it was so much worse. My minor fear of heights together with a worry about the seemingly non-existent Ecuadorian health and safety regulations, created an extremely nerve-wracking experience.
I spent a month in the city of Cuenca in the highlands of Ecuador. Its centre is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to an abundance of beautiful colonial buildings. However, even looking away from the city at the surrounding imposing mountains may leave you awe-struck. Here are my top recommendations for a day or two in Cuenca.
1. Plaza de España
You might recognise the Plaza de España from movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars or The Dictator because they all featured this impressive square. My favourite sight in Seville was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition World’s Fair, the building itself now houses a handful of government offices. To reach the huge semi-circular pavilion you must first cross over one of the four bridges spanning a small moat, each of which represents an ancient kingdom of Spain. You’ll then find numerous tiled alcoves, one for each Spanish province. Rowing boats are available for hire if you want a different perspective of this spectacular place.