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Another trip Patricia McCormick made with new found friends met at Meson de las Flores was to the nearby ruins of Cochasqui and to Quito zoo. I have taken my son Luke to this zoo many times. It´s well laid out and has a good cross spectrum of Ecuadorian mammals, reptiles and birds. Thankyou for these posts Patricia and looking forward to see you back here in October, Steve.

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  Recently we went to the pyramids at Cochasqui.  They are amazing and go back to 500 BC.  There are 15, some small and some very large, with big ramps. 

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There is speculation about their function — since they line up exactly with the spring and summer solstice and are very close to the actual equator, it was thought they were placed there for astronomical reasons. 

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It was also thought that they were there for military reasons, due to their location between the mountains, overlooking the area where Quito stands.  The story goes that the Princess, upon knowing that the Incas were coming, had a vision that the pyramids should be covered with soil — and that is exactly what they did!  They are still covered with soil and grass and — the Incas never found them! 

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There have been some excavations done and one of the discoveries was a huge sun dial on the top of one of the pyramids, which has alignments exactly to the surrounding volcanoes and is very precise in showing the spring equinox, summer solstice, etc.  Mystery and intrigue — it was a fascinating experience! 

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The cross symbolizes family, community, and spirituality.  It can be found in many places — even in the sidewalks of Cotacachi!

 
After Cochasqui we went to the Quito zoo, which has been relocated out into the country in a beautiful valley. 
Out at the zoo in the countryside
Out at the country zoo

It is a delightful place — so clean and in very natural surroundings — almost like a combination zoo and botanical garden.  It is probably the nicest zoo I have visited.

Giant tortoise at zoo

Giant Galapagos tortoise at Quito zoo