Ipiales/Colombia – Cuenca/Ecuador

Ahead of us is Ecuador, for South American conditions a small country. ‚Only‘ about 1200km we are going to cycle here.
First stop is the city of Tulcan, near the border with Colombia. There the cemetery attracts us. Allegedly, a cemetery gardener started many years ago to trim the hedges to a certain shape. Now it became a considerable sculpture park. Normally tuned nature like that is so not my cup of tea, the cemetery in Tulcan impressed me nonetheless. Also interesting are the ‚graves‘ – rather a kind of high-bay warehouse.

We cross the equator. Since the construction of a new tourist centre on another road, which crosses the equator, the monument, that we pass has its best time behind itself. A concrete globe surrounded by a broken plaster with recessed zero line, 1 solitary stall, 4 other people, of which 3 are merely waiting for the bus. The place exudes in a amusing way absolute irrelevance.

We reach Quito, where we meet again our bicycle friends we know from Colombia. Two days we spent in the Ecuadorian capital, then we continue our journey in a large group – 4 recumbents, 2 mountain bikes, 1 trailer – 2x Switzerland, 2x USA, 2x Germany. A great train, certainly would create a sensation in our home to. The next day separate our way and the way of the Americans Andrew and Mikey. With superior speed in the slipstream formation now 4 recumbents rush on the road – cool.
Unfortunately, we have to say goodbye the following day to Stefan and Pius. Stefans frame is broken in the middle. Incredible, though at the breaking point unspeakably badly designed and thus not surprising. Fortunately this happened in standing position, and we were driving uphill. After all, the two already cracked the 100km/h-speed going downhill. We load the foldable lowracer to a small truck and Denise and I are back in twos. With Pius and Stefan, we hit off and would have made it for a while together. In the best case we would have cycled together to approximately 600km into Peru.

Our journey goes along the so-called Avenue of the Volcanoes. You can see diverse, snow-capped, volcanic peaks, if they do not hide in clouds. At least the Chimborazo is in full splendour, which you can call in some ways is the tallest mountain in the world. Thanks to its equatorial location and the fact that the Earth is a ellipsoid of revolution with a larger diameter at the equator, is the summit of the Chimborazo, the most distant point of the earth’s surface from the centre of the planet.

Ecuador landscape fills with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, in some areas along the roads it is very rubbishy. With many signs with rules and other campaigns one tries to take countermeasures. Beyond that, the exhaust clouds, which buses and trucks blow in our faces, are the sootiest I have had on this trip.
The people also inspire us. Generally they are friendly and open, greet us laughing. Many are dressed traditionally, young and old, that means knee socks, skirt, heavy cloth around the upper body and a distinctive hat, all quite colourful. Children are tied to their backs using sheets.

Just descending in a rapid speed, earth slips from a rock cliff directly on the street. It follows a cow, which bangs on the other side of the road into the ditch. She had placed too close to the edge, unfastened this and fell about 8m into the depth. Apparently, she was dead immediately. Probably a whack to the poor cow and the poor farmers alike. The cow admittedly landed a few meters away from us, but I think that it more likely would be a dramatic as unusual end to get a cow on the head.
But then for a brief moment leaves us the luck. A few times I have reached the 80km/h in Ecuador. In another rapid descent I to get in skids while braking before a curve, solve the brakes, brake again, skid again, do not get the speed reduced to take the curve. Fall into a drainage channel next to the road. Last speed more than 74km/h. It is cool, and I wear 3 layers of clothing on the torso. They are perforated up to torn entirely. The helmet also gets a good portion. Thus I get away amazingly cheap with abrasions. Unthinkable how that would have run out without a helmet. Even the bike takes little damage, it can be repaired on my own without spare parts. The next day we continue cycling.
We need new clothes. Apart from my fall Denises trousers dissolves. And just now we meet a reportage team of „El Tiempo“, a major national newspaper – short interview and photos demolished cyclists.


translated by Denise and Tom

photos to this article: Ipiales/Kolumbien – Cuenca/Ecuador : Fotos
press: El Tiempo, Cuenca/Ecuador, 20.06.2008, „Pareja de alemanes en travesía por el mundo“

16. Juni 2008 - Tom | english texts | Kommentare :: comments :: comentarios | Inhalt drucken

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