Climbing to the Clock Towers at La Basilica in Quito is fun – but it’s no Stairway to Heaven.
As if Quito is not high enough we are going higher. Unlike climbing to the bell tower at Notre Dame with the safety of handrails and enclosed stairs, climbing to the top of the La Basilica in Quito is a whole different ball game.
Safety – what safety? As I stood up on the first landing looking down at the church I leaned gently on the barrier to take a photo and whoops, the balustrade rocked like a seesaw in a kid’s park. From outside the church appears to be a substantial building.
After exploring the lower part of the basilica and stopping off to admire the bride and groom, we ventured to ‘climb’ to the Clock Towers.
The initial path up La Basilica’s clock towers is through a series of wide stairs and is ok. There was the fleeting option of an elevator; however it looked like it hadn’t been functional in ages, so we skipped that one. This is where we can look down upon the wedding ceremony and seesaw on the balustrade. But we are only halfway up the fun is still coming.
Then we walk across a narrow wooden bridge directly over La Basilica’s interior arches. This is where I started to worry; I can see a steep set of stairs at the end of the bridge.
Not to be defeated, with trepidation I endured the climb taking care not to topple backwards. Once at the top I wondered how the hell I would ever get down. These are the best “stairs” we find out later. They at least resemble stairs and aren’t vertical like the narrow ladders waiting ahead. All of a sudden it’s cooler and windier, oh that’s right we are at about 4000 metres above sea level remember.
Next comes these intimidating vertical ladders, somehow I want Des to go first, I don’t know why, because that means he can’t even catch me if I fall! Anyway I have come this far and really want to make it to the top now.
Just don’t look down or around you, there were plenty of people who get stuck up here and the fear just sends them back down.
Then all is revealed, we are standing in one of the clock spires on a space no bigger than a large bathroom and the maze of Quito lies below.
It’s a steep climb down and almost everybody hesitates before finally taking their first step back down. The path to the top is made worthwhile by the sights of and sense of accomplishment. Although the perch at the top is tiny and open air, you’ll get a clear view of beautiful Quito and the surrounding mountains and volcanoes.
We’d love you to share your experience and travel tips in the comments section below!