June 25, 2005 GMT
Ecuador

Twintraveller in Ecuador
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Deutsche Version....see English Version below


Am Sonntag, den 22. Mai 2005 setzten wir unsere Fuesse auf Suedamerikanischen Boden. Mit relativ leichtem Gepaeck und einem im Nachinein unnoetigen Rueckflugticket marschierten wir durch die Passkontrolle und fanden uns mitten in Quito, Ecuador. Als wir bei dem beruehmtenSuedamerika Motorradspezialisten RicardoRocco im Moto Guest House ankamen, wurden wir herzlich wie alte Freunde empfangen und fuehlten uns gleich wie zu Hause. Noch am gleichen Abend wurden wir gebrieft,wie wir die bikes am schnellsten aus dem etwas buerokratischen Zoll bekommen. Am naechsten Morgen fuhren wir aufgeregt zum Flughafen um unsere Bikes wie versprochen abzuholen. Leider standen sie wegen eines defekten Transportfliegers im wunderschoenen Bogota, Kolumbien. Wir verbrachten einige schoene Tage in Quito bei Ricardo, machten Sightseeing, sassen abends gemuetlich vor dem Kamin ? ja verglichen mit den 38 Grad Celsius die wir in Panama im Schatten hatten, waren wir hier in Quito auf 2800 metern Hoehe bei kuehlen 10 ? 15Grad- angenehm, aber eine grosse Umstellung. Die ersten Tage hechelten wir ganz schoen durch die Stadt, waren wir bisher doch nur ab und an auf einem 3500 meter hohen Vulkan gewesen. Nach dem Eintreffen der Bikes und dem problemlosen Ausloesen aus dem Zoll fuhren wir mit den eigenen Bikes ueber den Ecuator fuer ein langes Wochenende nach Otavalo, besuchten den beruehmten Indigenenmarkt und wanderten ein wenig durch die Berge. Die Gegend war wunderschoen, der staendige Blick auf die Vulkane, ringsum alles gruen und die Regenzeit in Ecuador ging gerade ihrem Ende zu.

Zurueck in Quito verbrachten wir noch einige Tage ueber Fotos und Karten gebeugt mit Ricardo und Daniel Todd, einem Bike Traveller, der seit 14 Jahren mit kleinen Unterbrechungen auf der Welt unterwegs war, ich kaufte Ricardo sein gebrauchtes GPS fuer die Berge Boliviens ab und dann ging es auch schon Richtung Sueden. Nach den vielen Tagen in der grossen Stadt spendierten wir uns 3 Tage im Nationalpark Cotopaxi, campten wild auf der Hochebene am Fusse des Vulkanes, ohne Wasser, Toilette oder Dusche fuehlten wir uns mal wieder richtig wie im Leben. AM 4 Tag ging es nach Quilotoa, einem unglaublichen Kratersee eines erloschenen Vulkanes und uebernachteten bei einer indigenen Familie im Gaesteraum. Als uns morgens am 5 Tag ohne Dusche das Geschrei der Kinder weckte, merkten wir, dass fuer diese Menschen eine fehlende Dusche kein Problem war ? sie wuschen sich alle in einem Bottich mit kalten wasser in der Kueche. Ich allerdings konnte mich nun selbst nicht mehr riechen und so fanden wir in Banos, eines Kurortmit heissen Quellen zwischen den Vulkanen ein schickes Hotel, leisteten uns ein Superluxuszimmer mit TV fuer 16 Dollar und duschten stundenlang. Hier beschlossen wir ausnahmsweise die Mopped gegen Fahrraeder einzutauschen ?was ein Spass, ich hatte ganz vergessen wie schoen es ist durch Pfuetzen zu huepfen. Nach 3 geruhsamen Tagen in diesem kleinen Touristenkaff ging es nach Riobamba, wo wir die beruehmte Eisenbahn von Riobamba nach Guayaquil nahmen. Der Nariz del Diablo Zug faehrt aber leider nur noch bis zur Haelfte und das auch nur noch fuer Touristen, ist aber seines Zeichens eine der steilsten und schwersten Eisenbahnstrecken der Welt ? und man darf auf dem Dachdes Waggons mitfahren- probiert das mal in Deutschland. Auf jeden Fall war es ein Grosser Spass.

Von hier fuhren wir in ein kleines Dorf in den Bergen, welches frueher von der Arbeit in den Salzminen eher schlecht als recht leben konnte. Vor 30 Jahren kam ein Italiener und ein Schweizer und zeigte den Leuten, wie man Kaese, Schoki, Joghurt, Fussbaelle, Marmelade, Stoffe, etc herstellt. Heute ist das ganze Dorf in einer Kollektive angestellt, jeder verdient das gleiche, alle sind gluecklich und es gibt keine Kriminalitaet. Hier hats mal funktioniert. Wir besichtigten die 1 Raum Fabriken, kauften Schokolade. Auf der Strecke ? der hochsten geteerten Strasse Ecuadors mit 4400 metern ? sahen wir Vicunas herumlaufen und ich robbte mich lange mit der Kamera bei Hagel durch einen Graben um das richtige Foto zu schiessen. Langsam fingen die Motos auch an zu meckern, schon die Strecke zum Refugio des Cotopaxi auf 4600m war nicht mehr so einfach, aber hier auf der Teerstrasse wollte ich schon noch Leistung sehen?.

Ueber Cuenca, einer alten Kolonialstadt, wo wie einen Freund von Ricardo trafen, mir einen neuen Dirtreifen und einen neuen Luftfilter besorgten,fuhren wir nach Vilcabamba, einem Tal in dem die Leute angeblich ueber 130 Jahre alt werden. Hier trafen wir Jaques und Fabienne, zwei Schweizer, die in einem Mercedes Vito in unsere Richtung fuhren und uns natuerlich gleich wieder zum wandern ueberredeten. Wir vestanden uns mit den beiden so gut, dass wir gemeinsam ueber eine alte kleine Dirtroad in Richtung Peruanischer Grenze aufbrachen ? nun nach 5 Tagen Fahrt auf einem teilweise sandigen und matschigen Weg, den man nur schwer als Strasse identifizieren konnte, mit einer Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit von 20 km/h- mit nur einem kleinen Sturz, sind wir in Peru angekommen. Aber das ist eine andere Geschichte.

Wir wuenschen unseren Freunden die nach 9 Tagen auf See in Cartagena,Kolumbien angekommen sind eine gute Fahrt durch Kolumbien, freuen uns darauf euch wiederzusehen, gruessen auch den Rest, der noch in Central America steckt und besonders Anne und Freunde, die gerade erst in Alaska losgefahren sind. Ecuador war ein wundervolles Land mit liebevollen Menschen, wenig Kriminalitaet in den Bergen und einer unglaublichen Landschaft.

Alles Liebe
Katja und Martin

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English .....Twintraveller in Ecuador

On Sunday, 22 May 2005, we set our foot on South America. With just a bit of luggage and an unneeded Returnticket we marched thru migrations and entered Quito, Ecuador. Arriving at the famous Moto Guest House of South America Specialist Ricardo Rocco, we felt immediately at home. The same night we got all info how to get our bike out of customs which seemed to be a little tricky here in Ecuador. ON monday morning, when we arrived very excited at the airport, we weretold that our bikes got stucked in Bogota, Columbia, due to a broken airplanes. So we spent some days sightseeing, spent the nights relaxing close to the fireplace ? yes, compared to the 38 Celsius we had in Panama, we enjoyed at Quitos 2800 meters altitude the temperature of 10 to 15 Celsius. Acceptable but an interesting change for our bodys, the first days we really felt exhausted, when running around the City. Until now we just have been on 3500 metern from time to time when visiting a volcano. After the bikes arrived and cleared out of customs, we decided to head north, crossed the Equator with our own bikes on the way to famous Otavalo. The landscape here was incredible. We hikes thru the northern Ecuadorian Mountains, camped in a great hostel overlooking the volcanoes to the Colombian border and enjoyed the fact that here in Ecuador the rainy season was almost over.

Back in Quito, we spent some more days checking out Ricardos maps and fotos from his own trips around south America, talked to Daniel Todd, a bike traveler who had been around the world several times in the last 14 years, I bought Ricardos used GPS for the Bolivian mountains and then we were off to the south. After all these days in the city, we allowed ourselves some days camping at 4000 meter in the National Park Cotopaxi under the snowcapped top of the volcano in the middle of nowhere without water, toilet or shower ? man, we were back alive. On the 4th day we rode to Quilotoa, a volcano crater were you can hike down to a wonderful Laguna and stayed with a local indigene family. When I woke up by loud screaming, coming from the kids sitting in a coldwater bathtub in the kitchen, I recognized that not having a shower was something normal here. But we were smelling like dead animals already, so we decided to ride down to Banos, a hot spring resort between volcanos, were we checked into a luxury hotel room with TV for 16 Dollars and showered all night. Here we also decided to trade out motos for some bicicles ? what a fun, beside the fact that you have to push yourself. I almost forgot how much fun it can be to jump into the mud. After 3 relaxing days in this touristy little place, we went to Riobamba to ride the famous Nariz del Diablo train. This train, which is unfortunately just running for tourists, is one of the steepest and most difficult in the world. And ? you can sit on the roof ? try that in Germany and you probably find yourself in prison. Anyway, it was a lot of fun.

From here we rode into a little village in the mountains, which was hardly living from the work in the salt mines. 30 years ago a Swiss and Italian guy came to teach the people to make chocolate, cheese, marmelade, joghurt, football, everything ?now there are 20 little 1 room factories in the village, exporting their stuff all over Ecuador and partly Europe. The whole village is employed, everybody earns the same amount, learns every task in every factory, all seemed to be very happy and there is no crime. Here communism did work somehow. We visited the factories, bought some chocolate. On the road ? the highest paved street in Ecuador with 4400 m ? we saw herds of vicunas and I crawled thru a little tunnel like part with the camera thru the hailing rain to take the perfect picture. Slowly the motos were a little annoyed being pushed to their limits in this altitude, the road to the Cotopaxi Refugio at 4600 was already pretty tough, but here on the paved road, I wanted to see some power.

Riding thru Cuenca, al old colonial city, where we met a friend of Ricardo, I bought a new dirt tire and a new airfilter, we rode to Vilcabamba, a valley where people are supposed to live more than 130 years. Here we met Jaques and Fabienne, two swiss folks, who are driving the same direction with a Mercedes Vito and, of course, convinced us immediately to hike thru half of the valley.

We are having a great time with them, so we decided to take a little dirt road together to the Peruvian border ? now after 5 days riding on a sandy, muddy road that was hard to identify as one, with an average speed of 20 km/h, we arrived in Peru ?with just one crash?but that?s another story.

We would like to wish our friends good luck and a great time after they arrived in Cartagena,Colombia after 9 days on a sailboat. We are looking forward to seeing u again, greetings to the rest of u, who are still in rainy Central America and especially Anne and friends, who just started in Alaska. Ecuador was a wonderful country, with lovely people, almost no crime here in the mountains and an incredible landscape. One of the best countries we have ever visited.

yours
Katja and Martin

Posted by Martin Wickert at 05:35 PM GMT
 


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