Ecuador surely has the steepest bloody hills of them all. The last week, heading to the boarder of Peru really took it out of us. I mean, it was beautiful, lush green hills, deep canyons, quiet roads and friendly villages (except the nasty, evil dogs). Just ass-kicking hard. It was a real exception if we had a day of less than 1.000m of vertical climbing on some 7-15% hills. Long, gradual climbs are a lot easier on our legs than the extremely steep ones here in Ecuador....
Ecuador isn’t quite finished kicking our asses, almost, soon we’ll see what Peru’s made of. Probably more mountains. We left our comfortable hostel in Baños in search of some rad mountain lakes that would eventually lead us into the Orient, or Eastern Ecuador as it sits on the map. It turns out the lakes of interest were at the top of a pass and the weather was not in our favour.
It was high, so high. Okay, it wasn’t THAT high, 3.880m for us – the summit of Cotopaxi is 5.897 m – so we were almost there. But they didn’t really build a nice bike path up there yet. It took us three days to get up into the Cotopaxi National Park. Three days of terrible roads (rough cobble stones took turns with sandy gravel tracks), gusting winds that blew us off our bikes and freezing temperatures (frost on the tent walls).
The last month has been a good one, Colombia continued to be beautiful, we crossed into Ecuador we found some really nice dirt to ride and our tablet broke so we didn't have to write all about it (we both hate how much time it takes to create these little posts). Not to worry, we bought a new tablet so we can stop watching Netflix on our phone... and to keep you up to date.
Well, our little tablet made it almost to the "one year on the road" anniversary, but not quite. Too many rough roads,..
There is a famous song in Germany - "Oh wie schoen ist Panama" (oh how beautiful is Panama). And I am sure Panama is beautiful. However, we were pretty focused on getting to Panama City and escaping the tropical heat and humidity asap - we kept calculating in our heads ever since we booked out flight from Panama City to Bogota how many more days we have to endure the tropical steam sauna.
I can't remember who passed who but we were maintaining a similar speed which is surprising because most locals simply fly passed us on bikes that should have died a long time ago. Now we're a peleton of three, Andrea and I and our new friend blue shirt. His bike was 5 sizes too small for him and his race kit consisted of blue jeans and knock off Adidas but his determination was unwavering. We traded leading the pack as we climbed for 20kms up a mellow grade, blue shirt was not interested in conversation, just riding. An hour later and it was quite clear that blue shirt intended to beat us to town, we were racing. It was going to be a 100km day which is big for us so we had to reel in our hopes of winning this race, but we were still going to push and make him earn the yellow jersey.
Hike'a'Bike in Guatemala & "Heisse Scheisse" in El Salvador (Lake Atitlan, Guatemala - San Miguel, El Salvador)
We only spent a week and half in Guatemala so we really didn't see that much of the country, the Northern part is supposed to be very nice. However we gladly waved this country goodbye. There were no tears. It sent us off with a great finale though...
It took us 4 months to get through Mexico, over the last few weeks it felt like we might never make it out of there. But we did, and now we're in the land of little bitty countries that will take weeks to cross, not months - mental win.
As always it was hard to get going after a couple days off in the cute town of San Cristobal. Saying goodbye to our nice, quiet hostel with a good kitchen, reliable wifi and no party crowd wasn't easy. But the rainy season in Central America is approaching and we don't want to get stuck in it too badly. So we once again packed our panniers... this time trouble and ruins were waiting for us.