Quito – longer than planned but worth the time!
Two nights in Ibarra, one in Cayambe at the nicest firestation we ever stayed at (with own room, new beds and great firemen!), crossing the equator and then rocking on to Quito… Honestly, not one of our best days, Lena’s spokes kept on breaking on fast downhills, and we only had two spares left… Finally police helped us out and took us up for a few kilometer on the long climb up to the city, buses wouldn’t take us. But it was still another two hour climbing into the center of Quito – the highest capital on earth.
We were already looking forward to Quito for quite a while: meeting up with Aaron again, giving our legs a rest for a few days, buy some new mountain equipment, and whip our bikes into shape after nearly nine months. Who would have thought before that we finally stayed for two weeks?!
Our first day we spent with Aaron and the Genners Family Pippa, Steve and their two boys Henry and Charlie from England. Aaron traveled with them ten days before Quito. How refreshing getting to know them all and see how they are cycling as a family! They defintely took away some of our fear or respect of cycle touring with children – we are often talking about that as an idea for the future. Also Jens, who we met before in Colombia, came as a surprise, so we were a big cycle touring group wandering through Quito as very normal tourists.
Aaron had organized a great deal for us to stay with him in the beautiful house where he has a room now for his time in Quito. Zita and some of her daughters are living there, supernice women and Zita is an incredibly good cook! We felt so much like home from the very first moment, enjoyed the luxury and beautiful view over the city from our balcony every day and definitely put some weight on. Actually, we did not want to leave again… But this had another reason:
One day before we wanted to leave Hardy had a little accident in a parking garage of a Supermaxi. We cycled in from the rainy outside and when he wanted to stop he immediately slided away from the ground which was superslippery as soon as it good wet. Peng – autsch! Hardy was so angry about the person who installed this floor covering that he directly went to the security to vent off his anger. He just asked if he did not see the sign: „Piso resbaladizo cuando llueve“ (Slippery floor when raining). What, where? No, of course not it hangs over the car parking section and not over the bike parking! And actually he drove really carefully and slowly. We had to let his shoulder be checked and luckily the first diagnosis of the lady doing the x-ray was wrong – the collar bone was not broken, but next day the MRT showed that the muscles obviously were inflamed and Hardy had to rest for three more days… So, we would stay to celebrate his birthday in Quito! A really nice and relaxed day: with the teleferico (cable railway) we went up on 4050m and enjoyed the view over the city. Like every day in Quito, it was sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. So we went for a yummy chocolate cake in the historic center later, and of course, in the chocolate nation Ecuador, it is a real chocolate cake! For dinner we even had a second chocolate cake from Zita that we enjoyed with Guanabana ice-cream! Yum, yum!
For the whole time of our stay we had the great luck that we could use the workshop of www.tatoo.ws where Aaron started a job as the head bike mechanic for the next six month and starts building a cycle touring section. He also helped us a lot with spoking a new wheel for Hardy as his dynamo hub did not work any more and had to be changed as well as tensioning all our wheels – thank you so much for your support, Aaron! Since four of Lenas spokes broke in a row, it was high time to check the tension and find new spares. So we cycled three days through the city to check every single bike shop (and they have loads! a really big bike scene here) for new quality spokes. We finally found some DT Swiss ones but had to shorten them and cut new threads so they will fit for the Rohloff hub. Also some new Continental tires were waiting for us at Tatoo store, and after a full day allround treatment for each one of our Travelmasters they looked like brand new!
If you come to Quito and would like to stay in a very nice and familiar accomodation ask us about Zitas contact. We absolutely recommend staying in this beautiful, kind of Italian house up the hill, quiet but very central.
El Salvador: New Year in El Zonte and camping at the firemen
With Harco the Velosophics group had a new member for about two weeks. But Lisa was missing! We had to find her again for New Year – and so we did in El Zonte, a friendly little village and surfing spot at the Costa del Balsamo.
The first night there was horrible. We stayed in a small half private house half Hospedaje. At four a clock in the morning a drunk couple, maybe also on drugs, came back and started beating against our room wall. When Hardy asked them to be quiet they came out shouting „What’s your problem, he?“ „My problem? Shut the fuck up! It’s 4 o’clock in the morning and we want to sleep!“ Hardy was just too upset being woke up in the middle of the night like this. It made this crazy monkey even more aggressive, he grabbed with his arms through the window, spit at us and tried to break into our room while yelling at us: “You wanna fuck with me – I kill you – open the door or I’ll kick it in!!!“. A rush of adrenalin through our bodies… When Aaron came out with his bear spray in his hands they were luckily disappeared into their room again. But still, they kept on beating the wall from time to time which kept us awake…
We directly changed the hotel next morning, which was the best decision anyway: We had a great New Year with the people in Costa Brava Hotel and stayed there for four days with Lisa.
Our days in El Zonte were all about swimming, eating, relaxing and enjoying the sunsets and sunrises at the sea… At New Years Eve something happened what unfotunately belongs to every day life in El Salvador: Two young and probably drunk boys drove with their car into a power pole. Electricity broke off for the whole night in the village, the fiesta at the beach as well as the fireworks were canceled… A sad moment in the community – but we still had a great start into the New Year. A yummy candle light dinner, singing and drinking rum in a nice group of Salvadorians and six other nationalities, a big bonfire on the beach and some of us even went for a night swim.
We left on the 2nd January, Lisa by bus, Harco with race bike speed, Aaron and us in our normal touring cycling habit. We wanted to meet again two days later in Nueva Esperanza, a small community in the middle of nowhere that the Costa Brava people highly recommended to visit. They directly told their friends there that we were coming…
While Harco and Lisa arrived that day, we stopped after 80km in Zacatecoluca and asked at the Bomberos to stay for a night. They were supernice, directly integrated us in their soccer match (that Hardy and Aaron gave up after 10 minutes while Lena had great fun playing with the firemen guys!) and let us camp safely in between the fire trucks… They even drove us to have dinner in town in the evening!