08.10. – 11.10.
The landscape stays the same in Ecuador. I’m cruising through the soft mountains.
As you never know how long it takes at the border, I made the first stop in Ibarra, before I went on to Quito.
On the way to Quito I cross the equator and did not even notice it, because I was driving on some dirt and side roads. But I will have a look at my GPS records where it was.
Quito is huge. Ovi from the “Community Hostel”, right in the old town, told us, it is about 55km long and 15km wide, nestled in the mountains at an altitude of about 2,800 m.
On the streets a healer was offering his service, telling on a sign, he can heal fractures and other sufferings just with his hands. Women in traditional costumes offering textiles or frying sausage, meat and corn on small simple BBQs.
With Ovi, who works at the hostel, a few people took a city tour. A relaxed tour to varied markets, where he tells us about specialties of the country, to historical places, a candy shop where we stock up on candy before we move further on to an arts district.
It looks like I get used to the height. I manage several kilometers uphill and downhill without getting close to a heart attack. I take the cable car up to 4,000m above sea level. From there, you get an idea of how big the city is.
The weather can be very changeable in Quito. In the morning the sun is shining and within a few minutes dense clouds appear and it gets unpleasantly cold and starts to hail.
Visiting the Basilica del Vote Nacional is highly recommended. You can climb the towers through the intestines of the church. At one of the towers an iron staircase leads outside to the top. No special protection. This would not be possible in Europe. I hesitate, then overcome my fear of heights and climb up. At one of the evenings we do a food tour with Ovi, where we tasted some snacks and dishes of the local cuisine.
Quito was a lot of fun with the many people in the hostel, Ovi, Stephanie, Tracy, Becky, Max, Robin, Peter, Stefania, Will, Sonja, … and however all their names were.
I’m on the road for exactly three months. According to the plan 25%, 1/4, or whatever are over. The good thing is, I still have 75% ahead of me. :-) Still no trace of homesickness. I am still happy to be on the road. Every day I encounter new things, meet new people, sometimes there are new challenges. I met a lot of people, maybe even found new friends. (Almost) Every day a new route. You don’t have that at home, where you know every road almost by heart, where it is sometimes boring to get on the bike, because you have driven the roads so many times.
Of course, it’s not an adventure, funny or beautiful every day. Sometimes it’s boring or you don’t like it, because the weather is bad, you sit alone in the hotel room or you can not find a connection to the people in the hostel, because the interests and the ways to travel are too different. But if someone tells me, that he/she enjoys every day of a long trip, then it must be a very special person.
Mindo is about 100km from Quito. A small village, something like an adventure playground. They offer a lot of activities, like zip lining, canyoning, eating chocolate, watching butterflies and birds. I try the zip lining. With high speed you go from A to B on iron ropes, hanging in a harness, over several valleys. It’s a small adrenaline rush.
From Mindo I drive west, away from the mountains and hills. The rainforest seems to make his name. Although it was not raining, the clouds were hanging deep. Over a distance of about 150km it is just foggy, sometimes I can’t even see more than 20m. After a while the moisture is going through shoes and clothing.
Canoa is a small village at the ocean. The scenery on the way there changes drastically. It is a little warmer and more tropical. Banana plantations are along the way. Near the sea the fishery dominates. I suppose those pools located along the roads are for fish farming. Quito offers all amenities of a big city, life on the countryside is more simple. Simple houses made of wood or stone.
Canoa is cozy. I arrived on Sunday. It was relatively warm. The beach was full of people. Today monday it is quiet, but cold. Spring just started here. At night, the sea pulls back far outside. And sometimes you’d think those damn street dogs have a consciousness, when they sit on the beach and gaze out at the sea.
Thank you for reading, Jürgen.