Teleferico, the Cable Car Ascent to the Top of the World

Quitenos call their tram or cable car teleferico, but the name given as its proper name, Teleferiqo emphasizes the q for Quito. The inactive of the twin volcanoes fittingly named "old man" or El Ruco, grips the top end of the tram for the ride to Cruz Loma (Cross Hill).

The little shops at the foot of the tram exhibit the usual - and not so usual - tourist souvenirs.

After checking those out, Angel with his family and I hopped in to be scooped up on a foggy, intermittent rainy day...creeping up on the east side of El Ruco.

Breaking through those clouds - so close, you could almost touch them - gave me a surreal feel. I mean...so up-close-and...personal in that little cable car with those clouds all the way up to the heavens, seems downright unearthly! The cable car delivers.

As the teleferico climbed higher and higher, I recalled being on the longest tram in the world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A., but a spectacular view from that one didn't measure up to the lift of this one.

I came armed for the sudden change in temperature, dressed warmly with my umbrella in tow. We cozied up in the little gondola built for six, sat back and relaxed...well, almost!

This being the highest tram in the world at 4100 metros (13,400 feet), Angel kept checking with me as we ascended, to see if I could still breathe. I had no problem, much to his amazement! I have no phobias nor heart or breathing impediments or such. I guess that helps.

Suddenly, we arrived! We stepped out of the teleferico secluded somewhere between heaven and earth...into a building with little booths to shop from. It seems you can shop anywhere -- except maybe in the tram...yet!

Hot chocolate - Ecuador rates tops for cocoa, didya know? - came to the rescue. I then bought a tequilla glass for a souvenir. I'm not a tequila drinker, mind you. They just make such perfect collectibles - whiskey glasses.

Hugged by the mysterious fog, we dimly noticed one other building, a closed restaurant. Surely, there must be others to be discovered.

On a clear day, I'll be back to investigate more and to enjoy a bird's eye view from the top of Cruz Loma (Cross Hill) where Quito sprawls at your feet...that's, of course, if my good Lord allows.

Also, on a clear day, there's a little "hermitage" - really a little chapel - a few steps away to check out before boarding the tram to go down.

The other Pichincha Volcano, La Guagua (the little girl) - the active twin - and more, yawn in the distance, some near, some far. Trails unsafe without a guide entice the unsuspecting I'm told.

After boarding the teleferico and swooping down and out, we circled Volqano Park - the amusement park at the foot of the tram.

The children excitedly enjoyed the rides with no shortage of something to eat or drink. From the amusement park, we reluctantly left the teleferico/tram/cable cars convinced this place provides the perfect escape from the maddening world!

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