I arrived in Quito and stayed at the Casa de Ciclistas in Tumbaco, just outside of the big city. This super nice family opens their home to passing cyclists and creates a worldwide family. What hospitality….the world needs more families like that. Santiago works from his bike workshop from home, has plenty of good advise and is of great help in planning my trip. I spend a day looking around Quito in the rain and than organize myself for a trip to the Galapagos, hoping the weather will improve while away. I decided I need a holiday from this trip. I got a last minute flight for a week and opted against a cruise boat option. Just couldn’t get myself to spend the money for being told what to do. …prefer doing my own thing. And as it turned out I got to see most animals and had a great time. I had nice one on one time with some of the animals and that was special to me. I first arrived in Puerto Ayora, St Cruz island, and the same day visited the Darwin center, where they keep some of the giant land turtles. I also got to see lots of marine iguanas and some birds just hanging out on the verge of town. On the way back I passed the fish market and the fishing boats had just come in with the catch of the day. It was a great spectacle watching the pelicans and a couple of sea lions begging for scraps. I ended up eating there too and it was delicious! The next day I went for an early swim to beautiful Tortuga bay and got to swim with sharks and big rays, even a turtle showed up. The next two days I spent on Isabella island, a 2 hour boat trip away, where I joined a group for an excursion to the Volcano and a snorkel around the harbor. I met a very nice french couple from Bordeaux and we kept bumping into each other for the rest of our trip and had great fun together. Thanks Malika and Xavier:) We went on a snorkeling trip to St Cristobal island together and got to swim with sea lions. I think this was my favorite part. They are so beautiful, curious and engage in the play, come close to look you in the eyes than shoot of again to continue their dance….and they are so elegant and flexible, amazing to watch and fun to play with. The last day was spent relaxing on the beach and eating excellent ceviche and grilled fish in the company of my new friends. I was very sad to leave and could have easily stayed longer. But ‘mi mariposa’ is calling me and wants to get back on the road. I’m back at the casa de ciclista now and had a trial start this morning but than ended up staying an extra day to catch up on things. Also there is quite a few ciclistas here and these are the first I met: a swiss couple, a canadian, a french, 3 argentinians, and an american. I went for a lovely bike ride along an old converted train track through a beautiful gorge with the swiss couple and we found it hard to believe this is just outside of Quito. And summer has arrived and the sun is shining…..