Colville students learn about Ecuador's history

Roger Harnack

The Colville group touring Ecuador this week spent Saturday learning about the history of the city of Quito and the country.
The focus was on the religious history of the region dating back to pre-Columbia era.
The group started out walking the "street of seven churches," stopping for photos and a brief explanation of the history of the religious centers, many of which date back to the 1500s when construction started.
The Colville students and there chaperones were granted admission to the famed La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesus, a church known internationally because much of the interior is covered in gold flake. Construction began in 1586 and took 160 years to complete.
Tour guide, Pablo Salazar, explained that the amount of gold needed to coat the inside was 87 kg. At today's price for gold, $1,401 per ounce, the amount of gold in the Jesuit church would be valued at approximately $1.4 million.
After visiting that and other churches, the entourage headed to Altamira Restaurant for a lunch of shrimp and white-tipped shark.
The afternoon continued with a visit to the history-art museum of El Alabado.
There, the tour guide explained how the history and cultural together created today's South America.
The hike through the city's historic district ended at La Ronda, a nightlife area filled with little shops, cafes, nightclubs and an educational center.
Students took a break in the educational center to learn about beekeeping in the country, and to sample different honeys and local ice cream flavors.
The day culminated with a bus ride and stop at the Virgin of El Panecillo at night.
El Panecillo, a statue of the virgin Mary with wings stepping on a snake, was commissioned in 1976 and stands above the capital city of Quito. The statute represents the triumph of good over evil.
On Sunday, the Colville group is headed to the equator and the "middle of the Earth."
The tourist stop may include a short hike to a nearby volcano and dining on Guinea pig.