EcuadorPosted by Jan Lamers 15 Oct, 2012 03:55:50
Cuenca is beyond any doubt the most beautiful city in Ecuador. Unlike many other colonial cities in latin america the buildings have not been painted in loud pastel colours but in a very distinct way, modest but stylish. Highlight is the cathedral with its three blue domes. Cuenca is a very pleasant city to hang out for a couple of days. After those days I moved on to Zamura, close to the Peruvian border. The Zamura town center has a lot of really neat wooden structures that resemble those you see in Western movies. Ecuador applied for Zamura to be on the Unesco world heritage list. Zamura is a beautiful village, but world heritage? I wonder.
EcuadorPosted by Jan Lamers 10 Oct, 2012 06:01:36
On my way from Macas to Cuenca I found myself singing Descent into the Maelstrom by aussi 70's punk band Radio Birdman. I was riding in the pouring rain, skidding through thick mud down the mountain slopes. "I'm going down, I'm gonna drown". I got this road recommended by our Ecuadorian guide on the Galapagos islands Fabian. And the road had been really good until 100 km before Cuenca. There it turned into a pretty rough dirt road. The road rapidly deteriorated because of the weather and because of the construction workers' trucks. This was by far the most challenging stretch that I have ever done on a motorcycle. I arrived in Cuenca in the night without falling once. A nice story in hindsight but that is all.
EcuadorPosted by Jan Lamers 10 Oct, 2012 05:35:44
From Ambato I rode via "the old road" around volcan Chimborazo. The old road is pretty bad but the fact that hardly anybody uses it makes up for that. The scenery is stunning especially when snowcapped Chimborazo comes in sight. I was really unlucky with the weather and I spent most of my time around Chimborazo riding in hard rain and dense fog. I litteraly didn't see a thing except for my gps, that indicated that I was riding at an altitude of 4400 meters.
EcuadorPosted by Jan Lamers 10 Oct, 2012 05:22:41
Kevin returned to Canada for two weeks and I left Quito on my way to the Quilotoa crater lake. I got a route from a motorcycle rental company in Quito. It was a beatiful ride much nicer than going down the Panamerican highway. Some of it was dirt road but even that road was quite ok. I crossed some Indian villages like Sigchos where the people wear traditional dress. Especially the women are very colourful. In the afternoon I got to the crater lake, which is nothing less than spectacular.
EcuadorPosted by Jan Lamers 26 Sep, 2012 21:45:30
We did a seven day cruise visiting several islands in the Galapagos archipelago. It was an overwhelming experience. The wild life is abundant and the volcanic scenery is stunning. We got to see very peculiar animals, many of them endemic to Galapagos only, like blue and red footed boobies, sea lions, iguanas, turtles and turtoises, hawks, owls, hammer head sharks, manta rays, sting rays, eagle rays, gulls, oyster catchers, red billed tropic birds, albatrosses etcetera. The cruise was a very pleasant change to the bike routine and we have had the best food of our entire trip. We are a little bit reluctant to get back on the road after this treat.
EcuadorPosted by Jan Lamers 13 Sep, 2012 22:43:58
Quito evokes mixed emotions being the city where me and my ex girlfriend Ariënne both met and broke up years ago. I still know the city quite well which makes the going around fairly easy. We found a good hostal in the Mariscal area. I revisited the Guayasamin museum and I was just as impressed by it as I was after my first visit in 2004. We poked around in the old city for a while and took the teleferico to an altitude of over 14000 feet to enjoy the city views from there. Quito is a nice and relaxing place with a pleasant climate, warm during daytime cool during nighttime.
EcuadorPosted by Jan Lamers 13 Sep, 2012 22:10:06
The town of Otavalo is well known for its Indian market. Over the years the Indian market has become more of a tourist market, where Indians sell cloths and handicrafts. But on Saturdays, when the market is much bigger than on other days, there is also a large fruit and vegetable market a fish and meat market, where local people come to buy their groceries. Needless to say this is a perfect place for a photo frenzy.