You see, Quito's angel was a statue.
I can hear your disappointed sighs: "Aw, but I though it would have an actual angel!".
There's an interesting story that goes along with the angel. Our bus driver, an elderly man with a very white smile, told us on the way up that the statue had once flown away. To keep it from going again, they attached huge chains to the statue to keep it in place. The chains are still there today, and link the statue to the hill.
The angel isn't the only thing at the top of the hill There's also a cistern said to be from the Incan times. However, recent tests showed that it was built after the Spanish arrived. Despite this, it's still an interesting artifact to look at.
If you do decide to visit El Panecillo, make sure to go when there's no smog or low clouds. The views you'll see of Quito are quite spectacular. You can walk up to the statue, but the road is long and steep, and so I would recommend taking a bus. The fares aren't extravagant anyhow.
And so, while Quito might not have real angel, the statue that looks over the city serves as a more than adequate substitute. Chained to the top of the hills, its gaze serves as a serene reminder of the roots of this Ecuadorian city. Who know, maybe if you do visit it, you'll catch it flying away again.
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