After spending time on the Galapagos we were completely filled with all the great things we have seen and experienced during our stay. Before leaving Galapagos we already decided to spend 2 weeks in the small party town Montanita. Not to party but to eat healthy and exercise – more about that in a later post. On our way to Montanita we stopped at Laguna Quilotoa. There is a hike around the rim, which takes 4-6 hours, but after our Galapagos adventure, we just didn’t have the energy to do the hike. When we don’t want to do a hike like this… something is wrong, because we love hiking.
After getting back to Quito we only had a couple of days with Ali and Juan, before we had to leave for Montanita. On our last night we went out with Ali and Juan – and the Vespa Club in Quito (they are almost 100 members).
Our motorcycles felt big, when riding with these guys and girls. With all the luggage on our motorcycles we feel the opposite – it is all about from which perspective you are watching . We were invited by Ali and Juan’s neighbor (left picture), who is a member of the Vespa Club. In the right picture you see Juan riding is Kawasaki KLR and Ali next to him.
We stopped for dinner!
We are very grateful to have met Ali and Juan. They have been good friends and they made our trip to the Galapagos possible. Thank you for everything – we hope that you someday will visit us in Denmark.
We were back on the motorcycles on our way to Montanita, which is two days of driving from Quito. Before leaving Quito we had to buy new oil for the motorcycles, and we stopped at a KTM dealer. The mechanic was from Germany, and offered that we could use the workshop and change the oil right away. Esben emptied out the old oil, while I cleaned the reusable filters and filled in the new oil. After an hour the job was done – teamwork!
Already late after the oil change our first stop was in Latacunga, just south of Quito. Why Latacunga…? From a Danish friend we had heard about a Danish Bakery, owned by Niels Rasmussen. He immigrated from a small village “Ørting” in Denmark to Ecuador in the 1950’s. Today Niels is in his 70’s, but he still bakes the traditional Danish Rye bread. He also had few other things that were of Danish origin, so we bought dessert. Unfortunately Niels was on vacation in the United States, visiting one of his three daughters and his grandchildren.
Latacunga is famous for Chugchucaras, which is the local delicacy. Chugchucaras consists of deep fried pork, mote (boiled hominy made from corn), potatoes, fried plantains, empanadas, popcorn, and pork rinds. It is accompanied by aji, a spicy sauce made with hot peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and onions (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chugchucaras). Everybody we have met, have recommended the dish. We ordered one each – next time we will share one! In the left picture the starter which is the mote with crispy deep fried pork. In the right picture the main dish.
I was surprised that I could fit into my gear after all that food. We have not eaten so much meat for a LONG time – wauw it was great. With our (over)filled stomachs we were back on the motorcycles taking in the amazing views as we got closer to Laguna Quilotoa. The area has great hiking, which we could use after eating all that food.
The amazing landscape and amazing ride
Quilotoa is a water-filled creater and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3-kilometer (2 miles) wide crater was formed by the collapse of this volcano following a catastrophic eruption about 800 years ago, which produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that reached the Pacific Ocean, and spread an airborne deposit of volcanic ash throughout the northern Andes. The crater has since accumulated a 250 m (820 ft) deep crater lake, which has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quilotoa). The highest point on the rim is 3,915 meters, which makes it possible for the frailejones to grow here.
It was getting late and the sun had started to set. Sunrise and sunset is at 6 am and 6 pm – we are still on the equator. We had a “rent a dog” for the night after feeding it with some old bread.
The dog laid next to the tent all night keeping other dogs and people away – the next morning we had Danish Rye bread with some kind of ham and ketchup. So how was the Rye bread – well compared to the ones you buy in the supermarket this was still pretty dry, but it still tasted like Rye bread. We have not had Rye bread for more than 7 months so we really enjoyed it.
Back on the motorcycles we had a long day a head to Montanita driving down through the mountains towards the ocean
Passing trucks to keep up the speed – and the big corn, I love corn
Getting closer to the beach we passed by a dessert like area with ceibo trees
The Ceibo is the national tree of Argentina, and its flower the national flower of Argentina and Uruguay. Yes, I know that we are only in Ecuador. It is a flowering tree in the family Fabaceae, native to Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil and Paraguay. The tree flowers in the summer, from October to April in their native South America (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythrina_crista-galli). So no flowers yet, because we are only in the beginning of October.
Getting closer to the beach, where everything turned into a green wilderness!
Before we reached Montanita it was already dark, the last 30-45 minutes we drove in the dark – which we usually would never do. It is just to dangerous to drive when it is dark. This time Esben almost hit a horse, that was trying to cross the road without any light turned on. Stupid horse! Let our daily life begin in Montanita.