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Further explorations of Guayaquil: Monuments and iguanas

Guayaquil

On Saturday I decided to go back into town and try to get into the Museum of Anthropology and Contemporary Art, because it was closed when I went the Sunday before. I finished teaching at 13.00, so my plan was to go straight back to my flat to change, dump my rucksack, get my camera and then catch a bus all the way into town in order to get a nice long look round the museum until it closed at 17.30.

My plan was scuppered, however, when I arrived at the museum only to find it was closed again! This time there were notices on the doors apologising for the inconvenience caused, but no reasons were given for the closure. I think it may have been because to one side there was a small stage and some stalls set up for some Ecuador Post event going on with music blaring from loudspeakers.

I'd walked along the Malecon to get there, like last week, passing one of the major monuments on it: La Rotonda. This commemorates a famous meeting between Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín, two of the liberators of Spanish South America from Spain, in 1822.

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This time there were many more piles of riverweed floating down the river than there are normally.

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The botanical garden was out of bounds for me again, this time because it had temporarily been turned into a prehistoric-themed children's park, complete with plastic dinosaurs and mammoth.

After this I decided that instead of going straight home again, I'd go for a walk along Avenida 9 de Octubre, the main street, until I got to Parque Centenario. I hadn't walked along that way before. On the way to the park I came across a plaza containing Guayaquil's first public monument, a statue of Ecuador's first native president. At one side is Iglesia San Francisco, originally built in the early 18th century but then destroyed in the massive fire of 1896. It was reconstructed in 1902.

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Although as a result of this it doesn't look very old inside, along the walls there are lots of beautifully painted shrines.

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I wandered round and took some pictures, but then lots of well-dressed people came in and an event started. It sounded like a special children's event, maybe the start of a confirmation service (though it was a Saturday, not a Sunday), though it sounded too informal for that really. There were just a few families there. Members of the public were still allowed to wander around, but I started to feel like I was intruding a bit so I left.

Parque Centenario was lovely and green, and the sun was out most of the time, so I took some more photos.

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After I'd had a look round, I decided to say hello to the iguanas again in Parque Bolívar ('Iguana Square') 5-10 minutes' walk away, so that's where I headed next. I took some photos and also two videos of them, before going inside the metropolitan cathedral which is on one side of the square. As soon as I'd finished one video, I looked up and saw some more iguanas in the branches above me, so I took another shorter video of them. The square was packed with locals; icecream and water sellers wandered around.

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Like Iglesia San Francisco, the original cathedral was destroyed by fire; the present one was built in 1948. The front entrance is quite ornate, but the inside is pretty simple. There are some stained glass windows high up, though. A big service was just starting so I didn't linger too long, though I did take some photos. The service was being shown on lots of mini flat TV screens - one was attached to every main column in the nave.

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The municipal museum is close to Iguana Square, but closes at 14.00 on Saturdays so I couldn't go in. It has some interesting collections, apparently, so I will definitely go there sooner rather than later!

Posted by 3Traveller 03:01 Archived in Ecuador Tagged cathedral iguanas ecuador iglesia_san_francisco guayaquil explorations malecon_2000 parque_centenario guayaquil_metropolitan_cathedra avenida_9_de_octubre river_guayas Comments (0)

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