the Solar Clock -
has for many
years been famous
in Ecuador for its "bizcochos", a type of rich, buttery biscuit, and
dairy products. There are also large numbers of flower
plantations in the area, making the most of the rich soil.
recently, the Quitsato Project has constructed a huge sundial on the
Equator just outside the town. Cayambe is an attractive
town with a bustling market and a pretty town square. Many
people from the town and surrounding villages still wear their
on a daily basis.
bizcocho bakery to see bizcochos being made
and sample them fresh and warm from the oven is highly recommended.
said that bizcochos made in a wood-fired oven ("horno de
taste the best, though many are now cooked in gas ovens.
the morning to see the dough being made in a huge wooden trough and the
biscuits being baked. The most famous bakery is
Bizcochos San Pedro, on Juan Montalvo street near the cemetery, where
you can sit in a
flower-filled courtyard and eat warm bizcochos with hot chocolate while
you watch the bizcochos being made and baked in a traditional oven.
is also known for
products which include "queso de hoja" (rolled cheese made by wrapping
in a leaf),
yoghurt, and "manjar de leche", a toffee-like substance made
milk and sugar. Bizcochos somehow taste equally good with
the salty cheese or the sweet manjar.
Solar Clock built by the Quitsato
is a few kilometres south of town, beside the main road at Km 47 on the
Panamericana. The meticulously planned and carefully
construction is exactly on the Equator. Guides give an
explanation of the project which encompasses astronomy, geodesy,
archaeology and history as well as the social and cultural implications
of the equator. A visit to the sundial might cause you to
question your whole view of the world, for example Quitsato believe
that the concept of north being "up" and south being "down" is
incorrect. They talk of evidence pointing to local peoples
knowing the exact location of the equator, by observing the position of
the sun at the solstices, long before the La Condamine expedition
located the equatorial line in the 18th Century. Quitsato can
arrange visits to archaeological sites in the area. The
is fascinating and well worth a visit. A small donation is
about a kilometre up the Cangahua road opposite the "globe" monument
near the Sundial, dates from 1580 and claims to be Ecuador's
oldest hacienda. Members of the La Condamine expedition
there and there are some interesting maps and diagrams of the work of
the expedition. Guachalá operates as a hotel and
atmospheric place to stay. The restaurant is sometimes open
visitors and you might also get to look
around a display of old photos in what was once a chapel there.
Getting to Cayambe:
Cayambe is northeast of Quito, the journey takes around an
hour and a half on public transport. To get there,
take a bus along Avenida America to the Ofelia Regional Transfer
Station in the north of the Quito and from there change onto the Flor
del Valle buses which depart regularly for Cayambe, passing the Sundial
on the way. Cayambe can easily be visited on the way to or
and is also the starting point for a trip to the hot springs
or the scenic route via Zuleta
(about 2 and a half hours).
Spanish Vocabulary for an excursion to Cayambe, Ecuador:
Reloj Solar: Solar Clock or Sundial
Bizcochos: buttery biscuits for which Cayambe is famous
Leña: firewood - the best bizcochos are said to be cooked in
Manjar de leche: sweet, toffee-like sauce made from milk and eaten with
Destinations: Cayambe and the Solar Clock
Tourist information for a visit to the giant sundial on the Equator and
the town of Cayambe, famous for its biscuits and dairy products.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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