The World is big enough

“Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it” (Mahatma Ghandi)


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from Canoa to La Tola

Hi there

I made it, I made it from Canoa to La Tola and I made it even further than initially planned. But in order! Leaving Riobamba on a Monday morning the adventure started right on the first bus ride to Quito as my seat and all other seats on the bus where occupied and I was seated next to the bus driver in the front and while he was telling me about his life, his two marriages and his kids and during the 3 1/2 hour ride I met his actual wife and his youngest son. The rest of the day was less exiting as I had to pass the time until the departure to Canoa close to midnight. Good thing though, that this should be my last cold and rainy day for the next weeks. It was 5 am when the ticket inspector announced the arrival in Canoa and together with one of these typical Aussie Surfer Dudes I was searching for the first accommodation on this tour. After some hours of sleep I started exploring Canoa, but there’s not much to explore so I ended up in a bar run by an american couple from Colorado having my coffee and chatting with them and some other people running businesses there. I had the impression that there’s more expats than Ecuadorians living in that place and, and that luckily accompanied me during the whole trip, almost no visitors as it was low season, which is weird in that sense that the weather this time of year is generally more sunny and warmer than in high season. Good for me though! Anyway, to cut a long story short after spending one day here I started my walk up north. I already new from my day here that north of Canoa the rocks where reaching into the ocean and therefore would have to walk the first part on the street. No sooner said than done I found myself walking up and down on the Ruta de Spondylus one kilometer after the other and was expecting to see the Pacific after every next turn. This shouldn’t happen for the rest of the day and after walking more than 30 kilometers I decided to catch one of the every 30 to 45 minutes passing busses to my todays destination,the city of Jama. In contrast, the next day I was able to walk the same distance all the time on the beach. Quickly I figured out, that most of the locals have no or just little idea of if and where and to where you can walk along the shore and more than one time I was in front of impassable rock formations or rivers that is to say that I slightly changed my plan using a bus for certain parts as well. Another thing is that between Canoa and La Tola there’s just 3 or 4 cities that have at least one ATM. Having said this I zigzagged along the coast riding the bus to certain destinations and exploring the areas from there by walking. It have been roughly estimated more than 300 kilometers of walking and countless beaches, villages and places and so many different encounters, people and adventures. Can’t tell all of them but just to mention some:

because they didn’t have change in one hostal I was offered Kokain in exchange / when coming back from a party in one of the villages the owners of the hostal left for partying and the hostal was closed so I spend several hours trying to sleep in front of the hostal with some stray dogs, cats and crabs accompanying me until the owners returned several hours later / trying to find the main square in Esmeraldas I was sent in various directions and even the police couldn’t really help but finally I found it / circling the island of Muisne I endet up in mud up to my knees with some pigs around me / one evening a security guard on the beach offered me weed / another evening in a beach bar a guy offered me his sister and his cousin –  I just took the beer he offered me though / just few minutes after I found the only accommodation in Tonchigüe I was welcomed by the mayoress and warned to not go alone to the beach/ and when walking on the beach between Same and Tonchigüe a gang of 4 young men armed with a big knife tried to threaten me and rob my stuff, but I was smarter and faster 😉 / and… and… and…

In the meantime I’m back in the Andes planning my next move. See some impressions of the trip in the video and sorry for the bad quality of the voice recordings maybe I should get one of these windbreaks microphones!

Yours

Carsten


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Riobamba o danza con Volcanos

It`s me again and I made my way back to the Andes and in the Andean highland.

Riobamba is the name of the city I arrived at on the day 4 weeks ago. It has more than 100.000 inhabitants, is on an altitude of 2.750 meter above sea level and is surrounded, and that’s the more interesting part about this place, by a number of volcanoes including the highest one, the Chimborazo. The city itself is not very beautiful and I was a little bit afraid before coming here, because lot`s of people told me when asking me, where I’m heading to and I answered Riobamba, that it is called Friobamba, because of being such a cold place.

True, the first two days here have been rainy and cold, but then I could see this place from its most beautiful and spectacular side! Sunshine, clear blue sky all day and temperatures that were, at least during daytime, quite comfortable. And on these days the view from the terrace of the house of the family I’m staying at is breathtaking.

And because I’m helping a Riobamba based Tour Operator in creating promotional Material, so Photos and especially Videos of their Tours, during the past weeks I was heading every second day out of the town and into the mountains. I made it to the Whimper Refugio on the Chimborazo twice, hiked two days among the Chimborazo and the Carihuairazo to just a few days after that climb the Carihuairazo and made a biking tour through the Parque Nacional Sangay getting from the Sierra into the Amazonia Region. So as you can read, all but boring and because of the trips, the job and the people here, Riobamba is not at all a bad place to stay at!

And guess what, it was not my first, but the first I really recognized. What? Ah, the earthquake on Friday morning! The magnitude was not very high, 3,5, but the center of it was just 18 kilometers away and therefore the vibes woke me up in the early morning while my room and my bed were shaking! It caused no damages but Tungurahua, who was rather active the last weeks and months is quiet again after that! And with my profound geological background I see the connection of these activities 😉 So no ash in the air!

And now have a look at the spectacular scenery, the mountains, the Vicuñas, Alpacas, the Highland Fox and the Caracara (a hawk species) and enjoy. This time I’m really happy with my choice of music, a mixture of back home close to the Alps and sinking and drowning in the Atlantic Ocean while Celine and Leonardo are playing the panpipe.

Stay tuned and many greetings from Riobamba.

Yours, Carsten