Crossing the Equator line
I have decided I will publish a new post at least every Monday and Friday, so if you are still following us, you will have a guideline on when to expect to read new content. We’ll see if I stick to my promise!
Today is a big day. We will finally cross the line dividing the Earth between North and South, and the reason why Ecuador has its name. The exit from Cayambe was an easy one, all downhill although in a relatively busy road. We then had to go starkly downhill to cross a river, only to climb back again about 250 meters to recover the lost height.
The reward at the end of the climb was that we arrived at the Quitsato clock, which sits exactly on the Equator line. There, for 3$, a guy gave us a brief explanation of the place, why Ecuador is called like that (French scientists preferred to study the Equator from this country because mountains made it easy to set perspective points for the sun on each season), the location of some archeological sites matching the sun changing position, and what stars one could see from here. It was quite interesting, even if the kids could not care less.
After that we took a few photos, visited the nearby garden with many types of cactus, and got on the road again. The remaining of the day was in an ondulating road with a good hardshoulder, but heavy and noisy traffic. After a last climb in the village of Otón, the rest of the way would be a long downhill towards Guayllabamba, a village with a cool name just outside of Quito.
We still didn’t know how to enter the big city, but cycling uphill into a city of millions on a network of highways was not our favorite thing, so we would decide whenever we got there.
After a lunch of encebollado, a very popular Ecuatorian dish made of a fish soup (usually tuna) with fresh onion on top, we got to talk to Alejandro, the owner of the building where our restaurant and many others nearby were located. He was a keen cyclist, and offered us a few options.
We could either stay in a local hotel for cheap, put up the tent in his garden (with some noisy and over eager dogs) or take a taxi to Quito for 25$. The good thing in Ecuador is that, outside of big cities, most taxis are double cabin pick-ups, white with a green stripe, perfect to carry all our stuff.
Armed with this knowledge, we decided to go for the taxi option, so I started to ask around. The local taxi guys were playing hard and didn’t want to take us for less than 30$, but a local guy, also called Alejandro, overheard our price and decided to offer himself to bring us to Quito for the asked 25$ on his private vehicle. Deal!
He picked us up and our belongings, and up we went to the big city. Good that we took the taxi, as the way into Quito was a tough uphill on a 3 lane highway in rush hour, and when we were inside the city it started to rain heavily. I had to help him find our hotel with my phone’s GPS but it was relatively straighforward.
The hotel, called Margarita Inn, was chosen in the Booking app due to its good value, reviews and location, but the hotel itself was dark, with very poor service and sad rooms, so our start in Quito was not the best.