February 18, 2019

Today we traveled from Puerto Jeli in Ecuador to Zorritos in Peru (115 km). In the morning we had to wait until the car insurance arrived by email. We found a good insurance for all the countries together which we will travel in the next months. The email arrived around noon. I had to print out the contract and then we started traveling. The border was quite confusing. The countries Ecuador and Peru have border stations together. If you travel in direction south the station is in Peru. If you travel north the station is in Ecuador. But to cancel the TIP we had to go back to the station in Ecuador (5 km). All the rest we could get at the station in Peru. There are a lot of Venezuelans at the border stations. Millions of Venezuelans are on the way to Chile. They think they will have a better future there. Because of this the border controls are a bit more difficult. We had to go to a special building to get our visas and the TIP. Then we drove through the town of Tumbes. Since there were heavy rains this morning the town was very wet and dirty. We are on a campground by the Pacific Ocean. It belongs to a Swiss and it is called Swiss Wassi. We didn't meet this Swiss guy. We watched the sunset at the ocean and walked along the beach. Here I shot the attached picture.

February 17, 2019

Today we traveled from Cuenca to Puerto Jeli (172 km). The road went mostly downwards since Cuenca is on an elevation of 2560 meters and Puerto Jello at sea level. The breaks of our RV had a lot of work to do and they did it without problems. In Cuenca, the temperature was about 20 °C and in Puerto Jeli 30 °C. We are sweating again! Therefore we wanted to take a road to Peru in the mountains. But people told us that this road is very bad. Therefore we had to come down to the Pacific Ocean. The drive went down a valley. First, it was quite green. But later is was desertlike. And closer to the sea there were a lot of banana plantations. The picture shows the desertlike landscape we drove through.

February 16, 2019

Today when we came to the car workshop in the morning our RV stood already on its wheels. This means the breaks were already repaired. They didn't find new brake disks and had to rectify the old ones. But they found new brake pads for the rear wheels. And everything should work perfectly now. They even repaired the shock absorber. After the new shock absorber was mounted in Bogota I heard sometimes a sound when we drove around a curve. They found that a screw was not tightened enough and got loose and was bent. They replaced this screw and hopefully, the sound is gone. Then an oil change was made and some other screws tightened. By noon everything was done. This means we can travel again. In the afternoon we walked again into the town. In the old town, all streets are rectangular to each other. Most of them are one way. And there is a lot of traffic. Most nice buildings are churches. We saw a lot of them. The picture shows one of the streets in Cuenca.

February 15, 2019

Today we drove first to a car workshop. When we drove down from Ingapirca the brakes started to make some noise. We wanted to know what this is. The shop did open the wheels and found out that we have lost one brake pad on one rear wheel. Since some other parts pressed against the brake disk that made the noise and scratched the disk. The workshop wants to install new brake disks if they can find them here in Ecuador. Otherwise, they can lathe them again. They were lathed already two times. Since our RV is without wheels in the car workshop we needed a place to sleep. The brother of the workshop owner has a campground just next to the workshop. He rents rooms too. Here we will spend the time until the RV is fixed. Since the car insurance we need for Peru will not be ready before Monday or Tuesday we may not lose much time. In the afternoon we walked into the town of Cuenca where I made the attached picture of the cupolas of the cathedral.

February 14, 2019

Today we stayed in Cuenca. We did our laundry, collected data for our car insurance for the next countries, brought Katharinas iPad to a repair shop and filled our water tank. In between, we visited the city. We went two times to a view tower where there is a nice view over the city. I attach here a picture of our night visit there. It shows the churches in the center of the city.

February 13, 2019

Today we went from our campground in El Tambo back to Ingapirca to visit the Inca ruins (12 km). This is the reason why we came here. The Inca ruins here are the largest in Ecuador. After the Aztec ruins in Mexico and the Maya ruins in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala these are the first Inca ruins we are visiting. The place was built by the local Cañari people. Later the Inca came to this place. They build an oval-shaped wall as a base for the sun temple. The stones fit the neighbor stones exactly that no mortar or other means was needed to hold the wall together. The site was probably destroyed by the Spanish about 500 years ago. They came to get the gold out of the temples. After this visit, we drove to Cuenca (81 km). This is the last bigger town in Ecuador. Here we will do some work at our RV in the next few days until we drive further on to Peru.

February 12, 2019

Today we traveled from Cerecita to Ingapirca (247 km). The day started at sea level and a temperature of 30 °C. The first about 150 km we drove on a plain with a lot of plantations. And we crossed the city of Guayaquil. Then the next 100 km we climbed up the Andes mountains. We are now at 3000 meters and the temperature is 12 °C. Last night we hardly could sleep because it was too hot and this night we will freeze if we don't cover us with all the blankets we have. The picture shows the church of Ingapirca.

February 11, 2019

Today we traveled from Puerto Cayo to Cerecita (202 km) which is 50 kilometers before Guayaquil. We drove along the shore of the Pacific Ocean. The best thing we saw was when fishermen pulled a net onshore and started to count and shared the catch among them. In the air, the Frigate birds wanted to have a share too and in the water, Pelicans waited for some food.

February 10, 2019

Today we went to visit the Isla de la Plata. For this, we had to travel by tuk-tuks and bus to Puerto Lopez. From here we went with a group by boat to the 24 km off the shore laying island. We walked on the island and saw crabs, lizards and a lot of the famous blue-footed boobies (picture). Then we went back to the boat. There we saw giant sea turtles. Then we went snorkeling and saw a lot of beautiful and colorful fishes. On the way back to Puerto Lopez we even saw a sea lion. This visit was quite a good experience. And tonight we said we don't need to go to the Galapagos Islands.

February 9, 2019

Today we traveled by Tuctucs and bus to Puerto Lopez (36 km). We want to visit the Isla de la Plata which is the Galapagos for poor people. There should be some of the animals which can be seen on the Galapagos Islands. We went there to book our trip for tomorrow. The day trip cost us $ 35.- per person. To go to the Galapagos would cost us at least $ 1000.- per person. Tomorrow evening we know if the Isla de la Plata is really a replacement for the Galapagos Islands. The picture shows Puerto Lopez from the pier where the boats leave for the Isla de la Plata tour.

February 8, 2019

Today we traveled from La Maná to Puerto Cayo (256 km). We traveled in the direction West through a highly agricultural landscape. We saw banana, cacao, corn and many other orchards we don't know the names of the plants and the fruits. In the picture, the whole valley is planted with corn. Then we found out that Montecristi is close to our way. We made a detour to this place. My friend Karl told me that there the famous Panama hats are produced. But we didn't see one single Panama hat and couldn't find the company which is producing them. Then we went on to Puerto Cayo and with that, we reached the Pacific Ocean. We parked or RV on the campground «Jardin Suizo» owned by a Swiss. It was nice to meet Samuel and for once speak like at home (Swiss German).

February 7, 2019

Today our destination was the Quilotoa Lake. It is a volcano lake on an altitude of 3914 meters. From the campground on an elevation of about 3000 meters, we had to climb up to the lake in 101 km which took us about 1.5 hours. We could drive up until the rim of the crater and look down to the lake (see picture). To walk down to the lake it needs about 30 minutes and to get back up about an hour. Before I wanted to start this hike we went for a bio break in a restaurant. While we were sitting in the restaurant it started to rain. And because the rain didn't stop we decided not to hike down to the lake. And because we were not lucky again to see any volcanos because of clouds we decided to drive to the Pacific coast. The road which led up to Quilotoa goes down to the other side of the mountains. We took this road and drove in heavy rain and in fog down to La Maná (206 km). La Maná is on an elevation of 220 meters! Here we took a hotel room to spend the night.

February 6, 2019

Today we wanted to visit the Antisana Nationalpark. Arie told us that we will see condors, foxes and wolfs here. But we were not lucky. We took a wrong road and arrived at the entrance gate to the National Park 15 minutes after they don't let anybody in anymore. But there was a bit further down a viewpoint. There was a man. I asked him if we can see condors here. He told me yes and put on his telescope. Through this, we could watch a condor on the other side of the valley. With my telephoto lens, I was not able to put the condor to full format (see picture). Then we drove down into the valley and to a campground close to the Cotopaxi Vulcano (110 km). We are here on the «Avenue of the Volcanoes».

February 5, 2019

Today we stayed at the campground outside of Quito. Arie the Dutch owner brought us to a car workshop where they could fix our alignment. Finally, it is done and it seems to be good. Then our RV became a wash (picture). Since Arie has a bike shop we let repair our bikes. Then we did some more works around our RV. I think we are now ready for the next lap of our travels.

February 4, 2019

Today we traveled by bus into the center of Quito (35 km). We needed about 1.5 hours to arrive in the historical center of Quito. First, we went to the Presidents Palace. There was the Changing of the Guards which was a very big ceremony with soldiers, horses, music, and singing of the National Anthem. The picture shows some soldiers in front of the Presidents Palace. The President itself didn't show up. Sometimes he does. Then we walked through the town. The sightseeing points were mostly churches. Today we felt the elevation (2850 m). We had some problems to breathe and walk. Therefore we didn't do some extra walks. Just when we wanted to start our way back to the campground we found an iPhone Repair Shop. My iPhone needed some repair. The guy did the repair in 1.5 hours and it cost me $100.-. By the way, here in Ecuador, the currency is US dollars.

February 3, 2019

Today we wanted to go to visit Quito. But we were lazy and wanted to leave the campground around noon. Arie the Dutch owner of the campground advice us not to go anymore because we need 1.5 hours to get into town. And tomorrow there is the changing of the guards at the President's Palace. Therefore we decided to stay on the campground and organize our further travelings. In the evening we went to have a tasteful dinner in a restaurant near the campground. The picture is from our yesterday's visit to the Otavalo market.

February 2, 2019

Today we traveled from Ibarra to Quito (158 km). On the way, we visited first the market in Otavalo. We were lucky that the market was today. It seems to be one of the biggest in Ecuador. It was interesting to watch all the people and products there. Then we went to Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World). Here we crossed the Equator. In the picture, the yellow line symbolizes the Equator. When the monument was built around 1980 people believed the yellow line is really the Equator. But now with the GBS equipment one has found out that the real equator is 240 Meters away from the yellow line. But to celebrate the crossing of the Equator this place is still good. We are now in the Southern Hemisphere.

February 1, 2019

Today we stayed on the campground «Finca Sommerwind» near Ibarra in Ecuador. I counted our money and paid bills. Katharina did laundry. In the evening while Hans cooked us another German dish the sun when down with a dramatic sky as my picture shows. During the dinner, some other Swiss arrived here. Hans meant that Switzerland must be empty because so many Swiss are traveling in South America.