March 8 to 21, 2012
We cross over in to Ecuador with a minimum of fuss. The officials couldn’t have been nicer – we get SOAT. Welcome to Ecuador.
First stop is Cuenca to meet up with Ian Moor, the brother of our friend Keith Moor, the Melbourne journalist. The ride takes us away from the desert of Peru to the mountains of southern Ecuador. It’s green, it’s cool, it’s beautiful.
Cuenca has a quaint town centre with wonderful buildings like the old cathedral from the 1500 and the new cathedral from the 1800s. Ian has been travelling for about three years and spends a lot of time just ‘hanging out’. He knows the town and gives us a guided tour of the squares, the flower market, the Panama hat factory and a couple of very good restaurants.
We rode into Quito where we’d arranged to stay at the very palatial Hacienda Rumi Loma, owned by Irish/American Amber and her Ecuadorian mountain climbing husband, Oswaldo. We were introduced to Amber by our Melbourne friend, Elissa McCallum.
Rumi Loma is a little piece of luxurious heaven high on a hill overlooking Quito. The rooms are decorated with antiques, have magnificent bathrooms and views over the garden where llamas graze alongside the mare who thinks she’s a llama.
Amber and Oswaldo are terrific hosts. We enjoy spending time with them, having a little break away from the trials of the road.
The bike goes to BMW Quito for a full service and new tyres will we head to the Galapagos Islands for a few days.
Back on the mainland we bid farewell to Rumi Loma and head north to Otavalo. On the way we stopped at the Equator for the obligatory photo opportunity. We also had the equatorial view of the world explained to us. In this world, Australia is at the top and the world is observed on its side. We like this view!
Otavalo is another quaint town where the square is the centre piece. With free wifi young people sit around the square checking the emails and surfing the web. Music is piped through a concealed sound system and the buildings lit at night.
Surrounding Otavalo indigenous Ecuadorians still practice the crafts of their forebears. We meet the musical instrument maker and the local weaver.
Nearby is a waterfall in a eucalypt forest – it smells just like home!
Thanks to Ian, Amber and Oswaldo we have some incredibly fond memories of Ecuador.
Now it’s time to cross into Columbia.