Km 14 154
We leave the plain and a wall that seems insurmountable looms before us. Via a very steep ascent (10 % on average, sometimes much more) we reach around 4200 m altitude again. It takes us 2 whole days to get there. We are completely exhausted when we arrive at the Cajas National Park, which is located on top of the mountain range. In the restaurant of the national park we eat salchipapas (sausages with fries) to boost our morale and motivation for a walk in the park. Our legs don’t carry us very far, but we manage to walk around the beautiful Laguna Toreadora. We also treat ourselves to a little dessert (a little sugar never hurts after so much exertion), then we drive down to Cuenca. Here we take a day to rest, visit the pretty colonial centre and get vaccinated (this settles the issue and we can visit the Galapagos Islands, and maybe it will make future border crossings easier!).
After Cuenca, it’s uphill again and despite the rest day, our legs hurt just thinking about it. But with patience and perseverance we reach Ingapirca. The next morning we visit the archaeological site of the same name, the most important in Ecuador. It was built by the Cañari people and later taken over by the Incas. Despite the many archaeological sites we have already seen, there are always new little details and the visits remain interesting.
Then, unfortunately, the rain and fog follow us and we cannot see the landscape around the winding road we follow. We drive down and up several times, and sometimes there are even a few rays of sunshine. In one of these good weather moments, we have a beautiful view of the snow-covered peak of Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador. We were lucky to see it, because in the following days, when we pass very close to it, the peak is hidden in the clouds. We hope to have better luck with Cotopaxi, another beautiful volcano further north. But first we take a little detour towards the Amazon!
To see all photos, please click here:
Back in the Andes