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South America

It’s not called Ecuador for nothing

Most people associate this country with an old song with the same name as the country. And it really lives up to the name. Just a short drive north of the city centre there is a place called Mitad del Mundo – or middle of the world if you like. Right here is the equator. Still a little jet lagged I woke up before the sun and made my way here. They say that early bird gets the worm – and I must say that it was true this time (as so many other times). I was first at the place and was soon to be accompanied by two young “hombre” from Colombia. Always nice to avoid the crowds when visiting tourist attractions. Regardless of visiting some special places I like getting up early. That special vibe in the morning when the streets are empty and the city has still to wake up is, besides sunset, my favorite part of the day

Today there were blue skies pretty much all day. It’s warm when the sun’s out, but after the equator I decided to go hiking to enjoy the view over Quito and also get some exercise and altitude acclimatization. I came to 4100 m.a.s.l and the air was both thinner and colder – but the views were not too shabby!

Now I’m a little confused where to go though. The first alternative is to stay on the mainland here in Ecuador, either in the mountains or perhaps I’ll go to the coast. I have to admit that after spending almost the entire summer in the mountains, it’s tempting to have a couple of days on the beach. Especially when Peru, Bolivia and Chile will bring even more, higher and colder mountains than here. The other alternative is something of a dream – Galapagos Islands outside Ecuador. The only bummer there are the prices. It’s said to be super expensive. But hey, you only live once.

Have you been to Galapagos?

Quito by sunset

Hola South America!

After two flights, three non-oscar winning movies, one beer and absolutely no sleep – I’m finally in South America. Quito, the capital of Ecuador to be precise. Before “Googling” Quito I didn’t know much about it. I mean, without research can you honestly say three facts or the name of a famous building in this city? Probably not, and neither could I. Though, there was one thing I knew before coming here; that it’s the highest located capital in the world on 2850 meters above sea level.

Since Quito is on the equator there is luckily enough no need to worry about altitude sickness. The closer you are to the equator, the more oxygen in the air. That being said, I can ensure you just walking up a hill or taking the stairs leaves you breathing like a fish out of water. This is actually one of the reasons I choose to start my trip here. South America has some serious altitude for example in Peru, Bolivia and Chile which are my three next countries. So it’s a perfect way to get acclimatized in Ecuador and Quito where I will do some hiking up to around 4500 meters. At the same time it’s fun going places that’s not very famous or touristic.

Today, besides being a little jet lagged, I’ve been walking around in the city and I must say it’s really beautiful with the surrounding mountains and typical South American architecture in vibrant colors. Unfortunately my Spanish “skills” are only on the level for making my way around, not for deep conversations about life. But I’m working on it! The younger generation speak some English so it’s no problem getting around.

To get acquainted with the locals, I actually went on a Tinder “date” first thing arriving yesterday evening. It may sound nerdy to use Tinder to get in touch with local people, but hey, it’s 2016. Anyway, me and the lucky lady went to watch Ecuador play against Peru in the qualification to the world cup in football. Unfortunately the Ecuador team played on level with my Spanish “skills” – so for both them and myself I hope we will improve in the near future. Besides that, it was “mucho gusto”!

Btw, no quotes today, but they won’t be gone for long.

Quito Basilica

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