The border crossing with Ecuador wasn’t too complicated, but endless waiting queues held us up for over 3.5 hours. It was almost dark when we finally cruised into our 31st country of the trip. We took the sealed road to Cuenca where we got drowned in the new year’s eve atmosphere: with real Belgian smurf masks on our faces, we checked out the many bonfires in the town center and celebrated along with the locals. But we returned to our room at a decent time. The aftermath of the amazing Christmas party was still present and we didn’t want to put our liver to the test too much.
No party or hangover recovery the next morning, but a lovely track ride through the mountains. The rain kicked in and that made the whole ride just that tiny bit more challenging. When I tried to ride up a steep, muddy hill on a track that was marked ‘seasonal’ , even with brand new off road tyres, the whole bike just slid back down and finally landed on its side with me in the mud. Luckily there were many alternatives, albeit along narrow, partly washed away dirt tracks whit not a single living soul nearby. We made it to El Triunfo and soon got confronted with the culinary reality of remote Ecuadorian villages: a mix of monotony and challenge. You either eat rice and chicken the whole time or opt for the soup of the day with those undefinable lumps of animal tissue. Would it be liver, kidneys, stomach or lungs? Eating in Ecuador? Always a surprise!
But we weren’t exactly on a culinary trip so we worked our way further north without moaning. The winding gravel tracks took us through the green hills until the Cotopaxi, that on single volcano one really has to go see in Ecuador… Or not! What appeared to be an amazing view in the morning, got covered in thick clouds in no time. By the time my camera battery was charged, the Cotopaxi already completely dissappeared. We kept it dry on the ride to the Quilotoa laguna, but from that moment on, clouds and rain it was for a long time. It started pouring down. Damn!
Carolines birthday was nearing, so we checked out the internet looking for a nice location to celebrate. It was Caroline herself that came up with this lovely hostal somewhere in the north of Ecuador: Swimming pool, whirlpool, wellness, a lovely kitchen and all that – as opposed to the other hotels – for a very decent price. Hours did we ride in the pisspouring rain, dreaming of us relaxing in the Jacuzzi with a glass of bubbles and some amazingly tasty appetizers. Well, the reality proved different. The pool was only half full with dark green water and the family dog was sleeping in the dry Jacuzzi. The room smelled humid and the entire place didn’t look like the pictures at all! The best meal we were able to find without compromising to much on our cholesterol levels was a cheap microwave Chinese. But we had a good laugh. It is what it is. I still owe her a decent party celebration I am afraid…