Diary Entry

After the impressive landscape of the volcanoes, the city is a contrast. Unlike most cities, Quito is not laid out in a circle, but sprawls through the valleys of the 4000 meter high mountains. We have found accommodation again and have many things to do here. Leon is to be looked at again by a pediatrician and the car also has defects again.

Something about the suspension seems to be broken this time, judging from the rattling through the bumpy trails through the mountains. And then Leon activated the original Japanese car radio, which can no longer be switched off and plays old hits from the land of the rising sun loudly every time the engine is started.

We are walking to a pediatrician whose practice has many positive references and is not far from us. At Sara’s request, we are staying again, as we did in Santa Cruz, in accommodation in the city’s modern financial district, near Parque La Carolina.

There are family celebrations in the park on weekends and public holidays. There is also a beautiful botanical garden with plants from the Amazon and an exhibition of beautiful bonsai trees.

On the other side of the park is the pediatrician’s practice. As I pick up one of Leon’s toys from the sidewalk, I feel my smartphone slip out of my pocket. As I reach for it to protect it from the effects of gravity combined with asphalt, I feel another hand on the device. I pull it out and turn around.

A young woman stands next to me. Very close to me. It flashes through my brain like lightning. “Did you just try to steal my phone? Are you crazy?!” I say. The woman is wearing a Covid mask so I cannot see her face. “I’m sorry,” she says quietly while slowly backing away from me.

I follow her, but I’m not sure what to do with the caught thief. Sara looks irritated with Leon on her arm what’s going on. “Stay here, we’ll call the police,” she calls out when she understands the situation. Of course we don’t intend to call the police. How come? The thief also regains her senses and flees.

Directly across the busy road. Luckily she makes it to the other side safely and runs away. Sara and I just look at each other and turn away to go to the pediatrician.

After a few days, Leon shows the after-effects of the vaccination, which caused the little one to vegetate for a few days with a fever and Sara also caught a cold.

The weather in Quito is also cold and wet. It’s not very inviting to go out. Only on a few days do we suddenly have sun.

To get to the old town we have to take a taxi that takes about twenty minutes. The historical core of Quito is huge and right during our stay the city is celebrating 488 years since its founding. The colonial style in the streets and on the churches is unmistakable.

Two large buildings tower above everything: in the city, the mighty cathedral, the basilica, towers up and literally overshadows all other buildings. The Basilica can be seen from afar, as long as the view is not blocked by a mountain.

On one of these mountains there is then the second monumental structure: the Virgen del Panecillo on Mount Panecillo. This huge figure of Mary overlooks the old town and is also visible from everywhere. On the way down the mountain we see a warning sign: “tourists don’t go here, dangerous“.

It’s a good thing that a young Ecuadorian woman joins us on the way down from the Panacillo to the city to protect us.

Many activities take place there. Music is playing in one square, and students are celebrating their graduation in another square. But in the back of our minds we have a certain uneasiness.

Encountering the pickpocket and warning tourists leaves a tension that doesn’t really make us enjoy the city.

However, the fact that the mechanics completely ruined my car also contributes to this. The job was to find out what was rattling up front and replace a rusted pin on the wishbone.

Then the balancing can finally be carried out, which I was not able to finish in Cuenca.

The workshop “Toyoservicios” makes a good impression and obviously specializes in Toyotas.

I’m handing in the car and I hope it’ll be ready in a week. Then the balancing can finally be carried out, which I was not able to finish in Cuenca. Instead, the workshop visit leads to a forced stay of six weeks and four-digit costs.

Of course, nothing happens in the workshop at the weekend either. We use the time to drive to a special highlight of the trip: the equator. Quito is just a few kilometers south of the equator and from the center you can take a bus or a taxi to Mitad del Mundo – the “Center of the World“. We take the chance and cross the equator on foot for the first time.

Day 0 without a Breakdown

Full of good memories we return to Quito to get back to the problem with the car. The parts are on their way but are stuck at customs. Unfortunately, I found out much too late that DHL simply needs my passport data and payment of the customs duties.

It is very gratifying that my friend Uwe has come to visit us from Germany and will now accompany us for the next four weeks. Where it will go in these four weeks is not yet certain and depends on whether the car is up and running soon. Together we explore the city again, drive up to El Panecillo and see the angel statue with the drone from above.

Since the car is finally drivable, nothing keeps me in Quito anymore and I don’t want to see anything more of Ecuador either. It is high time to reach Colombia in the last few weeks of our trip. But even that turns out to be difficult; as if the universe hadn’t put enough obstacles in our way. Now it has started a whole mountainside. Because north of us there was so much rain that a landslide washed away the Panamericana in Colombia.

It’s hard to believe, but there are just two roads that connect Colombia with Ecuador and all southern countries of the continent – considering that there is no road to Brazil and Panama and the civil war is raging in the only remaining neighboring country Venezuela.

So our route changes spontaneously. We’re not going north, we’re going east. We will descend the Andes towards Amazonia and will enter Colombia through the jungle.

The first thing we have to do is pass through the Papallacta pass at the foot of the Antisana volcano.

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