ISSUE 21, April 2007
Editorial
Historic: Philanthropist and scientist: Sir Henry Wellcome
Travel: In Darwin's footsteps
Grand Secretary: Interview with Nigel Brown
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Faith and Freemasonry: A Salvationist and the Craft
Young Mason: Keep up the tradition
Freemasons' Hall: Refurbishment
Ladies Groups: Cheshire Ladies Circle
   Library and Museum: Masonry and music - the role of the organ
Specialist Lodge: A new Lodge for showmen is consecrated
Serving the community: Two Masons win major rescue awards
Spain: How a Cleveland Mason found his Spanish roots
Wales: Welsh Mason lands national sporting award
Hospices: The Craft's historic links with hospices
Ancient Craft: Herefordshire's ancient boat builder
Education: Forthcoming events and Andrew Prescott and Own free will and accord and First Universities Scheme Initiate
Masonic Charities: Latest from the four main Masonic charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Legarda’s Madonna at El Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador


On Santa Cruz, we visited the Charles Darwin Research Station and saw giant tortoises being reared in captivity. This is mainly due to their near extinction, as many of them had been killed for food before the islands were protected. Of the four inhabited islands, this is one of the largest. The lush highlands, which are not part of the nature reserve, were where we saw tortoises close up.
    If keeping the best till last, then it must be North Seymour Island, where we came close to sea lions basking in the sun, nearly tripped over land iguanas, who are a sandy colour to blend in with the path, and admired male black frigate birds with their puffed-up red balloon fronts.
    Our trip started in Quito, the biggest colonial city in the Americas, and 9,300 feet above sea level. As well as being the capital of Ecuador, it is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has been particularly well preserved despite having been the victim of volcanic eruptions. The city, based at the foot of the Pichincha volcano, is in the Andes, whose range of mountains run through the country.
    Predominantly Catholic, there are 87 churches in Quito, including La Compania de Jesus, built from volcanic rock and covered in gold leaf. Sited in a very active volcanic area, access to the old town is via extremely steep roads. Although they consider themselves multi-ethnic, there is a strong Indian influence. A 45-minute drive took us to the San Antoniode Pichincha, which stands on the Equator line, allowing you to stand with one foot on either side of the hemisphere.
    An ethnographic museum shows the many groups of people, in their traditional attire, who live in the various regions of the country. To get a real flavour of Ecuadorian life, we visited Otavalo, famous for its craft market, where we were able to buy ponchos and flexible Panama hats.
    The currency is United States dollars, with an obligatory $100 needed to enter the national park. A $26 tax (this can fluctuate), both in cash, is also needed to leave the country.
    Our flights were with Iberia, and if you have to travel with them, it is certainly worth taking your own food.


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