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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A spanish lesson

It’s almost christmas and I managed to have my newest video ready just right on time to send my christmas and new years wishes around the globe!

What a week in Baños! I wasn’t expecting anything when returning from a weekend in Guayaquíl last sunday night and even didn’t notice, that the dust on the terrace were ashes from the nearby volcano Tungurahua. I even didn’t notice the permanent rumble! But the next morning I recognized, that something was different. The streets were empty but everything was covered with fine volcanic ashes. And it was then, that I perceived the quite unusual sound and the tremor caused by the eruptions. Especially monday and tuesday the activity was unmistakeable and it caught all my attention and I couldn’t find time to finish my next video. It’s not over now, so there’s no heavy eruptions but still lots of ashes and steam coming out of the crater. Thanks for some rain and the wind that currently blows in a different direction, the air is clean again and one can go outside without inhaling ashes with every breath or wearing a dusk mask.

Besides that the last 2 1/2 weeks were packed with brewing beer, meeting friends, birthday parties and moving within the house from one apartment to the next and to the next. Good thing though, because the ashes of the volcano are getting everywhere and because my stuff was in my backpack they’re ash-free!

Now I’m getting ready for christmas. I will leave on monday morning for Guayaquíl to spend christmas and new years eve with Paola and her family and therewith far away from the danger zone of any volcano.

So here’s to wish you all a very merry christmas and a happy new year and enjoy watching the video.

Feliz navidad, Carsten



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A special weekend in Baños

The last weekend marked the end of a month of processions and celebrations for “La Virgen de Agua Santa de Baños”, the patroness of the people here. Therefore it was almost impossible to go out without bumping into one of those activities. And for me enough reason to dedicate this weeks video to this topic. So I was visiting some of the major events such as the mess on Friday on the cemetery in the occasion of the “día de los muertos”, the procession in honor of the virgin on Saturday and the “fiesta” afterwards. This is one of the busiest times during the year as for these final celebrations many tourists as well as people from all over the country come here on a visit. The celebrations here are way different compared to those in many other countries, as it’s not all about drinking and eating but more about watching and listening. Drinking in public is not allowed at all and for that everything is way more civilized but not at all cheerless. The most crazy thing is the “vaca loca” (the crazy cow) which is not to be confused with the “mad cow disease”! Watching the video you get an idea of that yourselves.

It’s already two weeks that I got here so halftime and there’s still much more to do and to explore so it won’t be boring at all without celebrations and depending on the weather I still have a huge list of activities to accomplish and places to visit before leaving for the next destination.

And as usual some further information to the video: The volcano I’m standing in front of is the Tungurahua, currently sleeping but every now and then erupting and experts are prognosticating further activities. Climbing not allowed! The last smaller eruption was just 3 months ago and the previous big one in the year 2006. The thermal spring I’m at is the “Piscinas El Salado” at the foot of the volcano and if you want sit skin to skin in turbid hot smelly water, getting kicked by kids as well as their parents, go there on a weekend! During the week it’s way more relaxing though! And finally the statue shown at the beginning of the video is another “Virgen de Agua Santa” sitting on a hill overlooking the city. There’s a way with some several hundred steps to get there, the view is worth it.

Now enjoy watching the video and learn a bit more about the ceremonies in Baños.

!HASTA PRONTO!

Yours, Carsten


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Baños – my first impressions!

Hola followers!

This time just a short update of my first days in Baños. Because I will spend here a month, there’s much more to come about this lovely, quiet place with so nice people. I know already some of my neighbors and it’s nice to walk on the streets and being greeted by people from Baños and having a chat with them. Feels a little bit like home! I love the tranquility, the climate and the safety and the surrounding is so beautiful. There’s much to do especially in the outskirts and I will try to do as much as possible in the upcoming weeks. But as in Quito, I go to school and therefore have to schedule most of the activities on the weekends. But visiting one of the SPA’s or hot springs is even better during the week and for that I definitely find the time as well.

And just a few information about Baños. This city is located 3 1/2 hours south of Quito (distances are here normally measured in driving hours by bus), it’s on an altitude of 1.800 meters in a valley at the food of the volcano Tungurahua that erupted just some months ago. Baños is a place of pilgrimage and there are many processions in honor of the “Virgen de Agua Santa” and especially the month of October is all about the virgin and there are processions, fireworks and celebrations every day. The principal source of income is the tourism for both, travelers from Ecuador and all over the world and therefore the city is full of hostels, hotels and travel agencies. But during the week it’s a quiet and relaxing place.

So I do enjoy my stay here, especially after the noise, pollution and danger in Quito!

See you again here on the blog, hasta luego,

yours, Carsten