Archive for the '10 Ecuador 2007' Category

Mira, mira gringo!

Posted by on Sep 14 2007 | 10 Ecuador 2007, 11 Peru 2007, English

Rocky road

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The sun was shining hot from a blue sky again. Our bellies were round from a delicious buffet we had for breakfast and we felt a bit sick pushing the bikes uphill. 20km of pavement were left before the beginning of a 300km long gravel road. It had been raining a lot for the past two days, but today seemed to be perfect to start the climb up to over 3000m from only 1500m in Vilcabamba.  We spent the night camping behind bushes next to the road wondering if the rain would stop in the morning for another beautiful blue sky day but we continued riding in our rain gear.

It took us all morning for the remaining 11km uphill to the pass. The road was in parts quite steep so that I had to push my bike and somethimes help Flo push the trailer for a while. On the summit it was very windy and cold. We rolled down for a few kilometers and had lunch on a mossy spot next to the road. There I got some water from a creek which we filtered to fill our bottles again.

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Some super steep and rocky parts awaited us on the downhill ride and a few small creeks crossing the road where I got a wet shoe because my front wheel slipped off a stone in the middle of deep water. So the downhill wasn’t much faster than the uphill. This side of the pass was really hot and the vegetation reminded us very much of Central America. There were the banana and orange trees again, sugar cane and bright coloured bushes.

Another creek crossed the road. I took off one shoe and crossed fine. Florian thought he could make it again and this time slipped and got his shoe wet as well.

Shortly after we took off the next morning I heard a nasty dog barking and stopped to pick up some rocks, then wanted to continue but Florian called up to me to wait until he had some stones as well. Both my shoes got somehow stuck in the pedal baskets and I couldn’t get my feet out and slowly tipped to one side. Because it was gravel and because I was riding in shorts I got some scratches on my leg. I was really mad about this silly fall, the scratches burned, but well, it could have been worse! The ride then was actually quite nice. It was an easy ride of slight down hill with beautiful views until we reached the first side canyon after some 30km. We could see the road on the other side going up steeply and we were rolling down on this side until we reached the stream and a scarry bridge. On the other side we both had to push our bikes and Chan had to get out of the trailer and help us push.

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The gravel here was really loose and we kept slipping backwards. It looked like we had the worsed part of it, Florian even started pedaling again only to discover that after a few 100m it got even steeper and the ground softer. 2km were taking us one hour! Luckily the next few side canyons weren’t as steep anymore, but the ride was arduous anyway. Suddenly I felt this weird quietness arround us and looked up. ¨Flo look over there!¨I called back and pointed to a valley ahead of us which was clouded over and disappeared behind a dense white wall of heavy rain. ¨Hopefully we can make that village over there before the rain is hitting us!¨, he said pointing at some houses on a ridge, ¨this might be Zumba with a hotel!¨ The first raindrops fell, when we reached the village. But what disapointment, when we realized it wasn’t Zumba and that pretty much the whole village was drunk. We covered the trailer and our panniers and rode on. It was downhill now, but thew road was again really bad, soft material and rocks so that we couldn’t ride faster than 4-5km/hour. Finally we reached Isimanchi, the village at the bottom by the river. The rain had stopped again and it was hot down here. We were told that it was 2 hours to walk to Zumba from here. It was 5pm and we would probably need 2 hours as well for the steep climb of 5-7km to Zumba.

We didn’t have much water left and there wasn’t any to buy here. Should we attempt the climb risking to ride in the dark and stay in a hotel in Zumba or stay down here in this hole where people were starring at us? We bought 1 1/2 liter cola and started to climb up. I was really tired but it didn’t feel right to stay down by the river. With lots of breaks, cola and chocolate we made it to the last switch back we had seen from the river about one hour later. The sun had already disappeared behind the mountains. We rode around a rock where the rode had disappeared out of sight and could see the road winding its way further up and up. That almost blew me from my bike . I had believed that we had the best part of the climb by now and now I just didn’t have any strength left. We pushed on and then there were those houses on the side of the road and I told Flo I couldn’t continue and that he should ask if we could camp there. He was a bit disappointed to give up so close to Zumba and so was Chan. He had been looking foreward to a hotel. But we could put our tent up in front of an unused school house, filtered water, cooked and by the time we were eating it was completely dark and had begun to rain again.

The next day it took us another hour to cover the 3km to Zumba. In Zumba we stocked up on food again and Flo could check our e-mail at the town hall. Chan shared his cars with some boys and when we wanted to leave, one car was missing and one of the boys took off quite quickly when we started looking for the car. We were lucky with the weather now, for the rain had stopped and when we continued out of Zumba the sun burned hot on us. The road got worse though with lots of rocks and mud and again we went steeply down hill and on the other side of the valley steeply uphill again. Chan had to walk a few times, but he didn’t mind. Actually he loved it and collected sticks and stones and ran back and forth between me and Florian like a little dog.

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The road wasn’t really a road but more like a path by now and it took us again the whole day for 37km. Especially the last part, only about 10km, were really nasty; loose ground with tons of rocks. It took forever. But we made it to La Balsa and the border to Peru! Ecuadorian Immigration was relatively quick but on the peruvian side we first had to look for the officer who was at home and it took us about 1 hour to get into Peru. But wow! How nice were those first 5km of road! No, it wasn’t paved, but compared to the past few days we were riding on an interstate highway and quickly arrived at a nice hotel in Namballe.

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We stayed one day in that hotel to recover from the exertions of the past days and discovered a tear in the rim of my back wheel. How long would that rim hold? Could we risk another day on gravel with it to San Ignacio where there was supposed to be many bike shops? We took the risk and headed off the next day. the road got worse again with lots of mud in places and water holes, rocks and soft parts. We stopped in a village to buy more liquids and were surrounded by kids and adulds immediatley. Flo counted 31 kids and a handfull of adults staring at us during our whole lunch brake only an arm length away.

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When we got on our bikes again, the majority of them followed us for 1-2 km on foot or bikes and laughed and screamed loudly. From now on this happened every time we rode through a village. We didn’t even have to stop, we were surrounded and followed anyway. If we did stop to buy more water, they were immediately right at our bikes, touching everything, staring through the mosquito net and windows into the trailer. This was especially difficult for Chan who was first afraid and then annoyed. In San Ignacio a group of kids followed us even into the hospedaje and we could only breath up after locking our room door behind us.

It was a very cheap hospedaje, but it was late already and we were too tired to search for another one. In the middle fo the night I woke up suddenly because something big had fallen next to my head and then run off. Flo said it was a rat which entered through the window, then jumped onto the bedframe and lost balance over my head! Igitigitt!

In the morning we brought my wheel to the only bike shop we could find and he said he could change the rim within one hour. When we returned 1 1/2 hours later he was just about to put the old wheel back together. He had taken the whole wheel apart only to discover, that he didn’t have a rim that would fit my 32 spokes. Putting the spokes back into the rim he did a really bad job. My wheel was now as untrue as it could possibly be. Flo couldn’t fix it either without a trueing tool because not even the hub was in the centre of the wheel now and I couldn’t ride on like this.  

We decided to take a bus to Jaen. An american we had met in Ecuador had told us about a really good bike mechanic we would find there. The bus wasn’t leaving until 6.30pm and was taking 3 hours. But we had gotten seats on the upper level in the very front and really enjoyed our panoramic view. The bus stopped in front of a hospedaje and we took a room there. It was too late to pack the bikes and look for another hotel. The room was dirty and cockroaches climbed up and down the walls. In the morning we went looking for the bike shop and found it after the 3rd try. Miguel Obando even had a good rim with the necessary 32 holes for my spokes and not the normal 36 for Peru. His sister invited us to stay in an empty room at their house and we stayed there for three days fixing my bike, giving an interview at the local radio station and letting Chan play with two girls from the Netherlands who live there.

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About rocks, holes and good companions

This part of our voyage was very special for the three of us. It was strenuous to ride, but brought us through extremely diverse landscapes and climates. Only a few weeks before we pedeled these roads, my father had passed through by bus and I felt his presence along the way knowing that he had enjoyed the same amazing views and experienced a journey as fantastic as we did. We didn’t ride alone. Rahel and Joerg, the swiss couple we had already met twice before (www.affenbrunner.ch), had cought up to us again and now we were sharing a part of our voyages. Then there was Steven as well from Australia who was on a ride from Quito to the South without a strong plan about his travels. He had heared about us in Ecuador and became part of our cycling familiy for about 10 days as well.

When we left Jaen we entered Amazonas province. That didn’t mean we were actually in the Amazonas basin but the climate, altitude and humidity certainly reminded us of the close rain forest. the countryside was relatively flat and the wide valleys were used for the cultivation of rice. We were dripping with sweat but the roads were dusty.

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Where ever we appeared with or without bikes people often behaved quite strange as if we were aliens. Kids always followed us screaming:¨Gringo, gringo, mira, mira!¨ A mother once ordered her kids out of the house to watch the gringos ride by. They point with there fingers and get very excited as if they didn’t know of the existence of different coloured people. In the time of T.V, Internet and globalisation this is often not just annoying but those reactions also feel offensive and insulting by the tone of the people’s voices.

Other people are sticking their oversized cameras right into our faces as soon as we get off our bikes without asking if it is fine with us to be filmed. So now we know how it feels to be an attraction but not respected as people. How many people in countries like Peru must feel exactly this by the behaviour of certain tourists!

3 days after we had left Jaen, we heard the familiar sound of a bike bell, Rahel and Joerg had caught up to us.

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There was so much to talk about for the rest of the day and late into the night! Rahel and I didn’t stop talking the whole next day riding in the front. Joerg was in the middle, taking lots of pictures and staying with Flo and Chan behind us. We had already gained in altitude a little bit again and our surroundings changed. A narrow canyon which opened up the higher we got, brought us out of a vegetation of mostly shrubs and thorn bushes into greener regions.

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When we woke up on our second morning with Rahel and Joerg the sky was dark grey and it rained. We all decided to hang around in Leymebamba, hoping that the rain would eventually stop for a sunny ride the next day. So we looked out for a nice chocolate torte and found pancakes and pizza instead. Like every long distance cyclist on a day off, we were eating the whole day. In mid afternoon, just before we had some coffee and cake, Rahel cut my hair short again. When Chan woke up from his nap, he almost cried when he saw me and said he didn’t like it. By now though he is happy with my new look.

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It was still raining the next morning, but we could see some blue in the sky and decided to ride. We were afraid, that the gravel road would turn into a mud path if we waited too long. But the road wasn’t bad and the grades comfortable on the way up to the first of a few passes over 3000m. The road was built into the terrain nicely so that we enjoyed beautiful panoramic views over the valley we came from. The summit on 3680m was very cold and windy. So we were riding down on the other side quickly on a gravel road that was quite good and after about 20km found it was time to stop and look for a place to camp. Rahel discovered the perfect spot on a path leading to a house far away. the path was wide enough for our two tents close to the road, but hidden a bit behind a slope and bushes.

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We put up our tents and started cooking, when Rahel came to me and said, that another cyclist had arrived. It was Steven, wo had done a 100km day on gravel to try and catch up with us! When our food was almost ready a few girls came up the path wit a donkey. We had to make some space first before they could pass between tents and bikes. But they didn’t mind and waited patiently. Then a bit later passed two men on footk and instead of asking what we were doing there, they showed us where to find drinkable water! It was all down hill for about 40km from our campsite to Balsas down at the Marañon River at 900m. We thought it would be a quick ride, but the road got worse the further down we got and we needed more than 3 hours.

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The views were incredible as the change of climate and vegetation. We were slowly diving into what looked like a bare rocky world but actually was quite diverse and colourful in detail. There were prickly pear blooming in bright orange. Bushes with purple and yellow flowers. Knobbed trees and many varieties of cactuses. All the way on the bottom of the valley was the river surrounded by juicy green mangoe trees. The Marañon is one of the two mother rivers which become eventually the Amazonas. Already up here it gathered a big body of water and devides the Andes into two parts with its steep and deep canyon.

Balsas was a terrible little town. Garbage was lying around everywhere and the smell of piss and rotten mangoes filled the thick, hot air. We got lunch in a restaurant and then tried to find food for our dinner and water. There wasn’t much water to buy and for vegetables we were sent to the mangoe stands.

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On the other side of the bridge the road was more like a river bed than road. It was really difficult to steer the bikes on this loose coarse surface. The road slowly climbed te valley side in curves and switch backs, so the grades were comfortable. But Rahel and I had to push our bikes the bigger part of it and Florian did incredible work again, pulling the trailer up that road! After only 8 km we looked out for a place to sleep. We were still in the very dry and hot desert part and needed to find water. People pointed to a tiny creek further up and we were surprised to find water there. Rahel had found a beautiful spot between cactuses and thornbushes for our camp. Joerg and Steven were still a bit further down the road trying to fix Steven’s broken chain and Flo and I fetched water which accidently spilled. So Steven got more water later, we cooked spaghetti together, filtered water and enjoyed our special campsite.

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To escape most of the heat in this dry land, we got up early and faught our way up and up and up. The men were always riding. I pushed my bike more than I could ride it and so did Rahel. 28km took us a whole day of pusing and slowly moving our heavy bikes up on those rocks. Joerg and Steven kept running back to help Flo push the trailer and take my bike to push it a while for me. We needed many breaks and bought the whole stock of 4 bottles of coca cola in a small bodega on the way.

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We camped about 10km below the summit on a grassy spot hidden from the road by thick bushes. Again we cooked pasta with a delicious sauce Joerg put toether. There was no water, but luckily we had filled up on it in the last restaurant where we had eaten lunch. Another morning of pushing in a “riverbed” lay ahead of us. One more switch back and we would be on the summit! I bought another cola. We needed that extra sugar and liquid to keep up our strength. I asked the woman at the bodega if she had a garbage for the empty pet bottles. She pointed to the edge of the slope: “The dogs will eat it!” “No”, I said. “It is plastic, the bottles!” “Ah, you can throw it down anyway.”, she replied. I couldn’t of course, but that’s what people do. There is no place to bring the garbage to!

What a feeling when we had finally reached the summit at 3050m and looked back down to the Marañon. A white line meandered its way up in wide loops and narrow switchbacks ending at our feet. We had made it!

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In Celendin we had half a day to rest, stock up on food and chocolate and celebrate our sixt year of being away from Switzerland.

The road was amazingly good to ride from here. It was still gravel and we had yet another pass on gravel to climb, the highest so far on our journey with an altitude of 3760m. We didn’t make the pass in one day and camped again just about 8km before te summit. Rahel had asked an old man by his house, if we could put up our tents there and he was really friendly and sweet saying over and over:” Si, si, gringita, si, si!” Next morning the police came visiting us to tell us that this road was very dangerous, that there were a lot of robbers and that our security was the responsibility of the police and that they would therefore stay close to us for the whole day. We didn’t see them again.

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We had lunch in the next little town, rice with papas fritas as usual. When we continued we hardly believed our eyes: the road was paved! Wow, that was about 20km earlier than we expected it. No more jolting, just nice and smooth riding! Chan fell asleep immediatly.

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We made it to Baños del Inca mid afternoon and first went for an ice cream. Unfortunatley the hostel with thermal baths we had wanted to stay at didn’ t exist. All other places were terribly over priced and mostly quite shabby. We found one with private bath tubs and Chan, Flo and I relaxed in a warm family bath. But especially I didn’t like the place so we rode the short 9 km to Cajamarca next morning after a bike cleaning session. There the hostal we had chosen was booked out and Rahel, Steven and I looked for another place for about two hours, then Florian and Steven went again and finally found an acceptable place for us to stay. The whole Cajamarca-Baños del Inca experience was a bit disappointing. But we found good honey, butter and cheese for which this area is known for.

The next day we headed out again up to the last pass for a while. This one was a bit over 3000m. The climb on pavement and with gentle grades was easy and the downhill ride neverending. Pavement here was quite old tough and the road full of holes we had to elude which slowed down our schuss. But we rode over 90m that day anyway.

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Now it wasn’t far to the coast anymore. The highway was still more hole than pavement and now te coastal wind picked up. The six of us had been riding a difficult arduous stretch together. Flo, Chan and I were slowing the pace of the other three, but they stayed with us until Trujillo. There was yet another difficult point along the way we wanted to pass as a group. From other cyclists we had been warned about the town of Paijan, where cyclists had been robbed by armed men riding a red motor taxi in the past few months. We had our bear and dog sprays ready as well as sticks handy. Steven broke the wind for the rest of us and with an average speed of 20 km/h we covered the first 40km through the desolate sand desert to Paijan. At the entrance of the town was a dead bloody dog in the middle of the road. We ate some chocolate, all the men including Chan peed and on we went like a train with five waggons and the locomotive Steven. With every red motor taxi we passed or were passed by I thought: Are they the ones? And I’m sure the others did the same. We only stopped again 10km passed Paijan to eat something. Now the ride was a bit relaxter, though the landscape was the same barren land. We rode 104 km, the longest distance for Flo, Chan and me so far and still arrived in Trujillo early afternoon. The dynamic in our group, especially on that last day had been awsome.

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But Trujillo was the place to part. We stayed together in the casa de ciclistas in Lucho’s house, where before us 860 other long distance cyclists  and within those a few legends had stayed. Flo, Chan and I are still here, waiting for my new credit card to arrive, while Rahel, Joerg and Steven left after two days and are off to Huaraz and Central Peru.

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Mitad del Mundo (9. Juli-5. August)

Posted by on Aug 11 2007 | 10 Ecuador 2007, English

Out of the clouds

Peeking out of the window it was white, the clouds denying us the view. We were sitting in our places, eating, drinking and playing with Chan, while far, far below us the landscape of a country went by, we woudn’t be able to apreciate on this voyage. Then, after about two hours in the clouds we began to descend and suddenly there was this huge sea of houses and cars. That was where we were going? Phuu! From one Millioncity into the next!

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While we were waiting to get through immigration, Rahel and Joerg (other swiss bikers we had met in Oregon for the first time and again in Panama City, www.affenbrunner.ch) had already gathered all our luggage and we went to customs. The officer waved us through, nothing had to be x-rayed! How different from the Panamian airport, where a dog had marked our bike box. We had to open the thouroughly taped box again and take out our tent, open it roll it out and let the dog sniff again until the police decided that the dog was only interested in the smell of the cartboard! Luckily Joerg had brought the rest of the tape and he helped Flo tape the box back together again.

Now in Quito, Ecuador, it was much easier. There were no dogs. Rahel and Joerg had already organized a taxi and we rolled off from the airport with all four bikes straped to the cab’s roof.

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One of the first things we all noticed was, that we could breath lightly. The air wasn’t thick with humidity anymore. It was warm in Quito, but not sweaty hot! how we all liked this climate at once! The first few days in Quito were all about getting organized again for the next part of our voyage. Again, we needed a few spare parts and Flo’s bike the attention of a mechanic. Finally, after three days acclimatisation, we were ready to head out of the city.

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But first we had to stop one more time at the bike shop to let the mechanic finish some work at the rear derailleur of Flo’s bike. While we were waiting for the bike, a man called TV Amazonas and they came to interview and film us. We finally rode out of Quito around midday. What a pleasure to be able to ride again at that time of the day and not having to hide in the shade!

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We headed north. We wanted to ride over the Equator ourselves! It was only about 50km north of Quito, a small detour! but how disoriented we felt. That flight had confused our sense of orientation completely. Our souls hadn’t arrived in Ecuador yet. That whole skipping Columbia had left a gap in our minds that can’t be filled. It is exactly why we enjoy the slow pace or our bikes. We can understand every meter we travel and our souls are keeping up and are not getting lost.

Firefighters

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Wow, we could feel the altitude now sitting on our bikes struggling uphill out of Quito! We sounded like some hippopotamus and we didn’t feel like we had travelled over 10’000km on our bikes. We only made it 36km far that first day and stayed in a hotel. Our next ride was again only 37km almost exclusivly uphill. The canyons were steep and the views incredible. Ecuador is a beautiful country especially after the monotony of the Panamerican highay in Panama.

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In Cayambe we stopped at one of the many bakeries selling their typical “bizochos”, a buttery, flaky cookie, when the commandante of the fire station invited us to stay with the firefighters for the night for free. We stayed with them for two nights and they took us for a ride in one of their big fire trucks into the next village. Chan was in paradise and enjoyed the stay with the “bomberos” even more than we did!
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Before we rode on the next day, we watched our five minute show in TV and then left to take a break only a few kilometers south of Cayambe at the Equator. There was a new sun dial monument (www.quitsato.org), where we could stand on that imaginary line around the globe.

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The middle of the world-mitad del mundo! The vulcano Cayambe stands almost perfectly on the Equator and it is the only place on it, where there is year round snow. A bit more to the south lies the highest point on the world, due to it’s pearlike shape, measured from the centre of the earth: Vulcano Chimborazo, which is the highest of the vulcanoes in Ecuador with a hight of 6310m.

Shortly after we crossed over to the southern hemisphere we met the first long distance cyclist in Southamerica. A woman from the US who is biking by herself from Vancouver to Ushuaia in less than a year, covering 100 to 130km per day!

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That night we put up our tent in the court yard of a fire station in a small village. There was no space for us to sleep inside, but we could camp with them and they gave Chan 6 firefighter helmets, flyers and a ride in their truck.

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It is supposed to be dry season and summer in Ecuador, at least in the highlands, where we are. But so far we had been rained on almost every day. We stopped in a bigger town to get groceries and had planned to ride on after it. But we were stuck in the supermarket for over two hours and above our heads the sky was growling and grumbling, lightening struck every minute or so and for a while it spit hale down onto us. Around 4pm we looked for the firefighters again and got a place to stay for free once more.

Avenue of the vulcanoes

South of Quito we reached the intersection to the Panamerican hwy. Now there was more traffic on this main highway through Ecuador from Quito to Guayaquil, the largest ecuadorian port. Right at the intersection an ATV rider stopped us and gave us a bag full of goodies. He had seen us the day before already and wanted to give us a gift. We took a break with view of the third highest mountain (vulcano) of Ecuador, the Cotopaxi.

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This part of the Panamerican Hwy. is called the “Avenida de los vulcanoes” and we were lucky to get glimpses of the giants although they are hiding in the clouds most of the time.

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On our way up the first pass over 3500m we got rained on again. But with our speed of 4-5km/h uphill, we soon left the rain behind and could take off our rain ponchos. It was a long climb and all of us needed a break at the gaz station shortly passed the summit. But the rain was quickly catching up to us and again we hurried on down hill this time now definately too fast for the rain. We stayed in a cosy little cabin in Lasso and enjoyed the last rays of the sinking sun before warming up under a nice hot shower.

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Since I had caught a cold we thought we would not ride far the next day. But the PanAm Hwy was dropping gently over a distance of about 20km when we arrived in Latacunga. We took a break at the plaza and checked our e-mail, but I wasn’t feeling comfortable in this town and wanted to ride on. Now the road was still easy to ride and when we got to the next town we had already decided to continue on to Ambato some 20km further.

Those last km were taking us down into canyons we had to climb again on the other side a few times before we arrived in Ambato and again found a place to stay with the bomberos. Ambato was a big labyrinth of streets with no signs for directions. We got really confused as to which road to take to ride over the next 3600m pass to Riobamba. On a steep uphill still in the centre of the city, my bike made a weird sound. I stopped and discovered that one side of my back rack was broken off the frame. We asked for a welder and were pointed accross the street. This welder believed the frame to be aluminium and couldn’t help us. But he led Flo to another one just down the street who fixed the frame for free!

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Through the city we then climbed higher and higher and needed to stop for lunch still at the outskirts of Ambato. There was no break from climbing up that day. Just higher and higher we pushed. Clouds rolled in and our ponchos were protecting us once more from the wetness. Although we had left Ambato really late, we still made it up to the summit at 3618m. At about 3400m I started to feel the altitude and had to walk my bike. Flo didn’t have any problems neither did Chan. At the summit the old railway station is now a mountain hostel. We were welcomed with a beautiful cup of herbal tea in front of a warming fire. It was cold up there but the place is so beautiful, that we stayed for two nights. Chan played with the owner’s daughter; they were flying kites and we enjoyed the magnificent view of Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest vulcano.

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Visitors

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Five long and strenuous days brought us from Riobamba to Cuenca. The landscape was still beautiful though there were no more snow caped mountains. The potholes on the highway grew more and more and finally there was no more pavement and the highway was all gravel road winding its way up and down steep mountain flanks and valleys. We camped on a soccer field in a tiny village and in the fenced in gardens of people’s houses. On one summit the wind almost blew us from the bikes and tried to send us back to where we came from. It blew with such force that we had to push the bikes uphill with the weight of our bodies and somethimes had to wait for a gust to settle down a bit.

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Neverthless, we made it to Cuenca a day after my father and his partner had arrived there.

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Chan loved his grand father he hadn’t seen for almost three years at once. Flo and I were completely out. “Big daddy” had to help him dress, play with him, prepare his food, comb his hair and go pee with him. For one week we visited the area and just enjoyed time together.

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Now they are off to northern Peru, then Lima and back to Switzerland. Our bikes got new shoes which will hopefully last for a long time. Chan got his library renewed and we could get rid of 15kg equipment we don’t need!

An interesting part of our voyage lies ahead of us in the backcountry of Ecuador towards Peru and in Peru. Lonely highways a lot of gravel and big mountain passes. We are both looking foreward to the next two weeks as well as anticipating it with much respect!

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