23.10.2012 - 04.11.2012
They are not exaggerating in the glossy tourist brochures about the multitude Ecuador offers.
Mita and I arrived late in the evening in Otavalo after a bit of a wait at the border, where they needed to do an inventory of the chairs that were laying around (...). I was grateful for the country's good road conditions, as I would have otherwise pulled over when it got dark to avoid a broken axle due to a pothole, which seemed to be a constant risk in Colombia. But smooth sailing into Ecuador, where we stayed in Otavalo at a former Guinea Pig farm and explored the light version of the Otavalo market on a Wednesday, which becomes huge on Saturdays. We continued towards Quito on a dirt road through the Andes to stay at a very impressive hotel at the edge of the Pululahua volcano and visited the "Middle of the World" - the equator. First the real thing with some cool experiments - balancing eggs, flushing toilets on both sides and on the equator where my favorites! - and then the equator line a bit off (drawn by the French a hundred years ago) with a large monument.
Mita left from Quito back to NY and I celebrated a legendary weekend with Duende, 10 years after we saw each other last in Bolivia - now making plans to continue parts of the voyage South together, when he has finished his work in Quito in a few weeks time.
After Quito, I drove to Baños, relaxed with some nice hikes there and decided that I really want to see the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon basin. Stayed at the fantastic lodge Huella Verde, alone with the Swiss owner, Christof, whose wife, who is usually with him, was in Quito. Great conversations, excellent Ecuadorian and Swiss food (partly from his garden), a fun ride down the river in a truck tube and a very educational hike with Don Lucho from the nearby village, made for my most memorable hotel stay on this trip so far.
I was lucky that the following weekend the independence day of Cuenca took place there, which made this beautiful town even more friendly with concerts rocking the streets - viva la Cuenca! VIVA!
Debated a long time, whether I should drive to the Ecuadorian coast, but then decided that I'd rather leave something to come back to in Ecuador and hit the waves of Peru, where the swell is picking up in November - time to finally get the surfboard off the roof again!
a link the photos from Ecuador - VIVA
the most exciting bridge I crossed on this trip