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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INTI RAYMI – When Incas celebrate midsummer!

Dear all

I guess it’s time again for a little bit of culture and latin american history. For that, two weeks ago I made my way to the South Sierra of Ecuador. Ingapirca is a little city near Cuenca and is named after the Archaeological complex of Ingapirca – in english this kichwa name means “wall of the Inca”. It is the best preserved pre-Hispanic architectonic site of the country and it had long been settled by indigenous people called Cañaris before the Incas were living here. There’s ruins from both cultures and the differences in construction style can be observed  when taking a tour from the “old” to the “new” part of the site. Besides the complex and the beautiful landscape this place is surrounded by, there’s not much to do in the city of Ingapirca. Except, and that was the main reason for getting there, it’s midsummer! Then this is the place for one of the biggest INTI RAYMI celebrations of the country. Casually said it’s the Thanksgiving of the Andean culture. It’s to thank Inti (father sun) and Pachamama (mother earth) for the previous year and to ask for their support for the upcoming year. That’s about the history of this place and the event.

Thanks to the bus driver who dropped me of in the middle of nowhere and to the two ladies with their kids who accompanied me to a little community called Sisid Anejo and to Manuel who was expecting me at the place I was supposed to stay at, I reached my home for the upcoming 4 days without problem. The community of Sisid Anejo is a 45 minute walk away from the Archaeological site and was already worth the journey. Just beautiful and quiet, except for some dogs who announced every passing person loudly. Thankfully there were not many of them, meaning passing persons. And as so many times before, I was the attraction as there’s never any tourist at that place. The next morning, it was friday, I got up early to not miss anything that might happen at the festival. But after a delayed start  (about two hours later than printed in the program)  it was not at all busy and there were just few performances of music, dance and ceremonies during the day. On saturday though it was busy and after the ceremony of gratitude there were lots of presentations of traditional music and dances from the countries of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Mexico all followed by big applause from the audience and the words “muy bien” from the moderator. Dear organization team, I recommend to hire someone else for next year. The presentations itself comprised everything from great, interesting and different to sometimes strange but always entertaining even including a Miss INTI RAYMI!

On sunday morning, not alike the days before, there was a group of people for breakfast all gathering around one big table while I was sitting alone at my table. When looking at my pictures from the day before on my camera I did recognize some of the faces sitting at the big table. So I asked if they had been dancing on the festival yesterday and yes, it was the delegation of Bolivia from Quito 😉 from the Centro Arte Folklórico “INKARY”. So lovely people. They invited me to join them not only for breakfast, but for the rest of the day, as Jorge, the director of the group and the bus driver offered me to take me to Riobamba as they anyway would pass through on their way back to Quito. We again went to the festival, made a tour through the Archeological site and a hike to the face of the Inca before starting our journey back north at around lunchtime. Thanks to all of you for the enjoyable day! And especially for you, this video is in spanish! On sunday evening I got back “home” with lots of impressions, many nice people I got to know, hours of videos, tons of photos and a sunburned face! Sometimes, even after this long time I’m here I underestimate the power of the sun on an altitude of 3.200 meters!

As mentioned before, this video is by way of exception in spanish and that’s why I’ve given some information I’m talking about in the video already in the text above. But don’t miss the video and especially my highlights of this event at the end of the video!

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