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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Chimborazo, hidden valley and dancing in the street!

Hi followers,

Last saturday I took a bus to Riobamba about 2 hours bus ride from here. Riobamba is the starting point for tours to the highest mountain of Ecuador, the Chimborazo. There’s lot’s of myths around this mountain and  at least I want to mention some of them.

Here’s my favorite:

The volcano El Altar (altitude 5.320 meters) was in former times higher than the Chimborazo (altitude 6.310 meters), both volcanos are males! Chimborazo is married to the volcano Tungurahua and she had an affair with El Altar and when Chimborazo got hold of that he was beating El  Altar with a hammer to his todays form and altitude and whenever there’s a thunderstorm with flashes in the region of Chimborazo and Tungurahua, than it’s because there throwing angry looks at each other! And on Saturday the Tungurahua was even more angry and there was again some eruptions, but since sunday the volcano is quite again.

With regards to the last eruption of the volcano, there’s no proven information and goes from 1.500 to 10.000 years ago.

In August 1976 flight SAETA 232 was missed on the way from Quito to Cuenca and at that time it wasn’t clear what happened. And it was in October 2002 that remainders of the aircraft have been found by some mountaineers.

And finally because of the earth curvature and Chimborazo being close to the Equator it’s reported to be the highest elevation of the planet measured from the center of the globe.

But back to present! On sunday morning Cheryl, William and me started our tour to the Chimborazo, going by car with our bikes on top to the “Reserva de Producción de Fauna Chimborazo” and in that park to the highest by car accessible point, that Carrel Refugio on an altitude of 4.850 meters. From there we took a 2 km hike to the Whymper Refugio on 5.000 meters. After having a lunch I started my decent on the mountain bike to the park entrance on 4.000 meter and back on the main road, we drove mostly downhill 46 kilometers on the former PanAmericana to our final destination the city of Ambato on 2.600 meter which up to now I just new for its regional Hospital! On the tour we’ve seen many, many Vicuñas (type of lama), a hawk, beautiful landscapes, a little creek turning on our way down to a river, no other bikers, but lot’s of locals on foot and horse and every now and then, the clouds allowed a peek to the summit of the volcano. Thanks William for being a wonderful Tour Guide and being so patient with us, making Kodak stops every now and finally not making it on time! And thanks to Cheryl choosing this tour and not the train ride, which would have been way less amazing and for all the fun we had on that tour!

After returning to Baños all my bags are packed (it’s just one), I’m ready to go and because of the nice weather I decided to do my comments another time in one of the hot pools. This time I was at the Termas la Virgen in the center of Baños which is a perfect place to go during the week! – It’s time to say goodbye to Baños after so many months and especially after the last weekend I’m ready for new adventures and experiences!

Yours, Carsten