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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desde el amanecer al caer la noche – from dawn to nightfall

Hey friends and followers

I’m back in Ecuador! After leaving the country for  Colombia last October, by end of May it was again time to leave because of my expiring visa. And because I was still in the more southern part of the country, the ecuadorian border was so much closer, so I decided to head back and on a more comfortable way of traveling an international direct bus connection Cali – Quito. On my way back to Cali I visited all my former domains, so the hostel in Armenia and the hostel in Cali. Nice to see my friends again before leaving for new adventures. The first part of the journey went well, next to the fact, that these international busses are going extremely slow and the really bad entertainment program. First a Jackie Chan movie, after that a Jackie Chan movie and number three and four as well and all of them badly dubbed into spanish which is especially for these types of movies anyway just a sequence of cries, shouts, sounds of pain and hurts. Story line? Non existing! You would just need half of the time if you travel on domestic busses. Anyway, we made it at about 1 am to the Colombian border it was cold, it was raining but the exit was quick and easy. Then just a short walk crossing no man’s land and to the migration of Ecuador. I kind of expected that it might not work out smoothly but was still full of hope, that I can enter without any problems. As you might guess, that was not the case and it was not just difficult but impossible! They wouldn’t let me in and after a short talk with the shift leader I found myself at my International Jackie Chan Direct bus, to get my backpack and to go back through no man’s land to Colombian immigration. It must have been 2:30 when I finally was back on Colombian territory with the canceled leave stamp in my passport sitting in a shabby old car on my way to the center of the border city of Ipiales. And because it was Sunday early morning and because I had to get to the consulship to get a new visa, it was clear that I would have to stay at least for two nights in this not very exiting place and if that wasn’t enough, monday was a local holiday so I had to wait until tuesday to try to get a new visa. After one of the most boring days I had so far on this journey I had the visa in my passport on tuesday evening and as a reward went to one of these Pollo-Broaster places where they prepare these breaded deep fried chickens and ordered two plates. Yes after such a long time I still can eat chicken and somehow still like it, at least sometimes. The next day I left early morning to get to Quito soon and to arrange the overnight bus ticket for the very same night to get straight to the coast. And that all went super fast and without any problems. I spend about three months again in Montañita, the same place I had been exactly one year ago. And I had again a great time there and the weather was extremely good, at least the first two months and unlike the year before, I went whale watching in Puerto Lopez, visited Olón, San Pedro and other villages and even had my favorite Cocktail Bar in the famous Cocktail Alley in Montañita. This is a street with one cocktail stand next to the other, must be in total about 30 and cocktails are good and cheap and is the main attraction of this village and, I found a bakery with the so far best Elephant Ears (orejitas/Schweineohren) I found on the whole journey! Loved them and must admit I had at least one per day!

After three months it was time to leave and after having the hostel full of Germans and most of them from Munich, I made my way back into the andean highlands. I’m back in Riobamba and what was planned as a pitstop for a few days is now already a 2 weeks stay and my departure is not yet scheduled. But I will leave and I will explore places I haven’t been to on my first visit to Ecuador.

So it’s great to be back in this wonderful country but as well it was hard to leave Colombia because of the beautiful landscapes, the nicely maintained villages and cities and especially the amazing people of Colombia the country where in just 6 months I made so many friends and have families in Armenia and Cali! I will definitely come back!

So after two years of traveling I’m back in country number one and just have been in one other country. Guess to make it around the world I have to speed up a bit. But way more important, I still enjoy every day and moment of it!

I’m ready for new adventures and for sure will continue sharing some of them with you.

Yours, Carsten

The complete interview will be online shortly


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Goodbye Ecuador

A week before, I finished my job as house sitter in Riobamba. And guess what, the pets are still alive and the flowers as well, so no complains from the family. And for their welcome I prepared a typical Frankfurter Kranz (german pastry), Colada Morada (Ecuadorian Drink especially served around All Saints) and a home-made Stracciatella ice cream.

After spending a few days in my “old hometown” Baños and again being fascinated by the volcano Tungurahua which was extremely active those days, I made my way again to Quito to finally say goodbye to my friends at the school I was at more than a year ago, had my farewell beer with some friends on thursday evening and on friday after almost 14 months in Ecuador finally started my journey to the boarder and further on to Cali in Colombia. I decided to take a direct bus from Quito, a 24 hour ride and already when boarding the four hours delayed bus coming all the way from Lima/Peru I could sense a bit of the Colombian cheerfulness as most of the passengers were Colombians and immediately started talking with me before I got to my seat just right in front of the toilet which was in the contrary to the Ecuadorian busses usable. Later during the journey some were singing and dancing. So all but boring.

It all went well until border control. When leaving Ecuador, the border officer checked my data on the system and it turned out that both of my student visas haven’t been registered properly. Plain talking I overstayed my tourist visa for 11 months and was since December illegally in the country. That can be extremely expensive, but Ecuadorians are nice people, so I had to fill out a form, make some copies of my passport and the visas in a nearby shop and return all that to the officer and I could leave the country without further problems. That took quite a while not only because of the lady in the shop who needed way more time to make 5 copies than one would expect! And in the meantime I was alone there. Where was my bus, where were the other passengers? I decided to make my way to the Colombian border control and thank good after getting the stamp in my passport I found most of my fellow passengers in a nearby restaurant in no man’s land having their first Colombian meal before continuing the ride through the night. Some of them invited me to some Colombian food and a real coffee. One must know, that in Ecuador people usually drink instant coffee even in better restaurants which y anyway never visited. And finally our bus came as well and we were heading off at around 9pm to Cali. 12 hours later I arrived in this dazzling city, the capital of Salsa! Haven’t give it a try so far, but I guess, the lessons I took back home in Germany are not sufficient for the type of Sales people dance here. The first afternoon I was completely overwhelmed by this city. Big, warm, noisy and packed with people, but that was mainly because I hadn’t had much sleep on the tour.

The video is a collection of some unpublished material from my time in Ecuador. This time most of the music I made myself as I had the chance to practice again playing the piano in the house in Riobamba. The singing is not at my best, but anyway, doesn’t matter.

So I will start planning my next step these days as right now I don’t have a plan, nor an idea on where to go first. But and that’s for sure, I will find my next destination and are already looking forward to new adventures, getting to know a new culture and new people. And also I will continue bothering you with new stories and movies from here.

Yours Carsten