Gocta waterfalls – Northern Highlands

The border crossing to Peru in La Balsa was easy, we were the only vehicle there at the time. The officers were friendly and efficient, nice. On the Peruvian side the road was paved, we drove to Jaen and bought the insurance. Jaen was so ugly it was interesting, while Günter waited in the truck I walked several blocks and across a bridge (they think it is a garbage shoot) to the insurance office. Buying the insurance was easy and on the way back I walked a different route, the town is considered off-limits to tourists and one would not want to camp here. I was glad to crawl back into the truck seat and leave the mess behind. You can’t choose what part in the world you are born into, but I am thankful that in my case it was a little mountain town in Austria. So we left this city behind and were off to the mountains again,  dying to go for a nice hike. Our Lonely Planet guide-book from 2013  described the Gocta waterfalls and hiking possibilities. The drive was nice and we ended up at the little town near the waterfall, parked beside the park office/ soccer field/town center and hiked to the falls. The trail is well maintained and the hike beautiful, a little steep in places. But one can rent a horse for the first two-thirds of the distance and then hike the rest.

The falls were beautiful and invigorating if you stood close enough, the water comes over the edge and by the time it arrives at the bottom it is mostly mist.

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The falls: The total height was measured at 771 m (2,530 ft), which rankes Gocta as the third tallest free-leaping waterfall in the world.

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Nice camp spot in town.

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On the trail to the falls.

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Unusual vines.

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Posted in Peru | 2 Comments

Guadalupe, Chinchipe

Oh how great if felt to be on the road again, adios Cuenca. Refrigerator, fuel tank and water tank full, we headed toward the little town of Guadalupe in the Yacuambi valley in the southeast of Ecuador.

This little town has a great mission and hospital, staffed with volunteers from Europe and the US. Padre Jorge Nigsch from Schoppernau, Austria: “El Jefe” as the sisters at the mission call him, has spent the last twenty-five years here in the Amazon region and is busy with his congregation and the hospital. The mission is in a beautiful location across the river from the town itself. People come down from the hill towns to have their medical needs attended to, at any given time there are several physicians taking care of sick and insured people. When we were there a group of eight doctors and nurses were arriving from Germany.

Padre Jorge (Georg) welcomed us with open arms, gave us a great spot to park the camper behind his house and a key so we could use the facilities. I loved waking up in the morning, quiet except for the birds singing up a storm. The Amazon area is lush and wet, it rains almost daily, but if you are from Southeast Alaska you don’t even notice it. There is a dirt road into a side valley where there are several Shua settlements, I walked part way but did not want to bother them since they do not like to have their picture taken and do not like it if you take pictures of their poverty. I did not. We spent three days at the mission, ate with them and enjoyed talking with the padre and the visiting health workers. Vergelts Gott!

There are several frog farms in Ecuador and one of them is in the next town, Piuntza. They raise bull frogs and sell them restaurants, needless to say, in Zamora and around you can order frog anytime. But 80 % of their production goes to New York and Europe. Two tons a month between May and November.  They have breeding tanks, tadpole nurseries, wet and dry growing areas. Ramon Costa  has 15 warehouses, which contain around 300 000 frogs. They are covered by a fabric that allows the free flow of air to maintain an optimum temperature. The frogs grow best at temperatures between 24 and 29 degrees. The metamorphosis of a frog food lasts between 10 and 12 months, at which time it will be ready for sale, weighing 150-180 grams. Worth a visit.

You can get to Guadalupe via Zamora, the drive from Loja is spectacular, with orchids growing along the road and the Podocarpus rain forest, countless waterfalls and lush hillsides. There is also a new road that leads from Saraguro east to Yacuambi (28 de Mayo) and the Yacuambi valley. Padre Jorge said that on a nice day it is spectacular up there “it makes you feel like you are in an airplane looking down”. From Guadalupe you can also explore the Nangaritza river, but we never did because rainy season was approaching in Peru and we wanted to move south. So we said farewell to Padre Jorge and the sister and left for La Balsa on the Ecuador/Peru border.

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This waterfall at Podocarpus Park hit half the road after a rainfall.

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The same waterfall three days later.

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Das Pfarrhaus. We had very quiet neighbors.

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Four bodies were stolen from the graveyard and presumably sold. So tombs are frequently enclosed like this.

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El Jefe !

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A visitor on the hood of the truck.

 

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Guadalupe bridge from town to the mission.

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Frog legs anybody?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adios Cuenca!

Our truck has held up really well and we are happy with it and the XP Camper it hauls around.
But it needed some attention and we found a shop (Tecnicentro Chicago) in Cuenca whose owners, two brothers, are US trained mechanics (and speak English).

We ordered some parts from the US and had them sent via FedEx, well that worked well, but we spent days trying to get it through customs in Guayaquil. It was ridiculous and nerve wrecking at the same time. After many emails and phone calls to customs the the package was finally released and the repair was done. After five weeks we were excited to leave the city and head south,  but at the edge of town we noticed that the alternator was not charging, so back to the shop we went. Cuenca just did not want to release us.

This time we decided to do it differently, we could not find a new alternator and a used one that “might” work was over USD 700.00. So Günter took a “red-eye” flight to Florida where our friends Sharon and Robert were a great help and they had a great reunion at the same time. Günter bought a new alternator for $ 160. Four days later he as back in Cuenca, alternator in his backpack. Customs was a breeze and the alternator was installed the next day. Finally we were off.

While Günter was in Florida I decided to go to the Amaru Zoologica in Cuenca. It is a quirky zoo and very interesting. You need at least three hours for this zoo, it is located on a hillside east of downtown. Bring water and good shoes, it is a hike too, the great views invite to sit here and there. Most animals are native to South America, but there are lions and a pair of ostriches (who were eating their own egg while I was there) from Africa as well. For the monkeys there are chicken wire tubes throughout the compound so they can follow you on your stroll. You can enter the bird house and get up close with them, no touching though. There were giant tortoises from Galapagos and tiny lizards from the Amazon jungle, snakes and Andean fox, bears and even a rhino (lignea hippo) way up on the hill.

I had a great day !

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Puma!

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Andean bears like to sleep on platforms.

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Spectacled Andean bear.

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Condor

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uhu

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Blue headed parrot.

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Monkey Yoga

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Tapir.

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Monkey trail.

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He ate the egg his mate had just laid.

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Posted in Ecuador | 4 Comments

Bogota on a Saturday afternoon.

There is a lot of entertainment if you just go for a walk in Bogota on a weekend.

Click here for a video clip.

Hari krishnas, new agers, capoeira fighters, story tellers, card players, marionette players  …….

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Capoeira

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The female shaman.

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And of course the hari krishnas.

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Posted in Colombia | Leave a comment

Cuenca days

Well, we are taking a break in Cuenca.

We are not really city people and usually spend very little time in towns or other large metropolitan areas.

We love quiet spots in nature, fresh air, endless vistas and birds singing.

We like little villages and like to watch the people go about their daily lives, work in the fields or do their laundry on the banks of a river.

But there where some repairs that needed to be taken care of on the camper, so we decided to have it done here, before crossing into Peru.

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The eight Araucarias were brought  from Chile and planted by Luis Cordero at the turn of the century.

IMG_2744Cities like Cuenca have many stories to tell, there is a lot of history here and walking around for a day just isn’t enough.

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Todos  Santos bells.

 

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In the old cathedral.

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We found a little apartment on the top floor of an old colonial building owned by a dentist, his office is downstairs, he is 85 years old and still fits dentures for the indigenous. It came with a roof top terrace where we ate our breakfast or just went to read or watch the comings and goings down below. Outside the entry, on Plaza de San Francisco, is a daily market, the women in their beautiful outfits sell alpaca shawls and other nice and not so nice items. They are mostly from Otovalo, you can tell by their clothes.

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First apartment, top floor of the dental office in Plaza San Francisco

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In the museum we found a photograph of or “home”.

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We are intrigued by the changing outfits as we move south, skirts, adornments and hats might look the same to us, but the native people here can tell by the clothing which village they are from. Just like we can back home in Austria. So to us, it is fascinating.

At night they store their wares in the building, so it was always interesting when we came home in the evening, we had to pass by their stored items – checking out the table cloths (loved them) and bags stored on the shelves.

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Plaza “Pancho” 7 am.

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Canari women

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We had to vacate the apartment after a week, Dano, the owner came through with another apartment, down by the river. We liked that one too.

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The courtyard of apartment # 2

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Apartment # 2 view!

There is always something going on in a City, cultural happenings, fiestas, street musicians. It took us days to visit the churches and museums on foot. Then we got our bicycles out and started to explore more, it has been fun. The two rivers make all the difference, they are mostly green belt with walking and bicycle trails. Thanks to a state of the art sewage treatment plant the rivers are clean and we saw fishermen fly fishing within city limits and catching nice sized trout.

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A nice trout!

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Bulli station!

At the edge of town are some hot springs where we went to soak and do the steam/mud/shower/steam/soak/nap/tea routine, spent most of the day there and LOVED it.

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Magic mud!

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A steam box!

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The daily market is huge, and we can find all the food you need just steps away from our little home away from our “home away from home” called camper.

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Having an oven has been nice too, makes baking bread a lot easier than doing it with the Cobb grill. Apricots and blueberries are everywhere at the market right now so I made an apricot/blueberry cake today. A little taste from home, Ecuadorian food is not really what we are used to, but we try. Günter even ate a roasted “cuy” (Guinea Pig), I passed.

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I am not going to write a Cuenca guide book, but will let the pictures speak for themselves.

We spent Dia de los Muertos and  Independence day on November 3rd  in Cuenca and enjoyed the festivities.

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Popsicles, they were really good!

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Espumilla, yum!

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Guaguas and colada morada are only consumed on Dia de los Muertos.

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Preparing the pig.

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We are both hooked on hot quail eggs with cumin.

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We would just follow the music and hang out!

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The blacks from the Esmeraldas region are descendants of shipwrecked Africans destined to be sold as slaves.

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Something always blooms in Cuenca!

Adios Cuenca, ist’s been good to get to know you!

 

 

 

Posted in Ecuador | 4 Comments

Watch “Quilotoa harvest” on YouTube

Posted in Ecuador | 3 Comments

Chimborazo to Cuenca

Chimborazo is over 6000 m high and beautiful with its snow-covered peaks. During our stay at Chinipamba it beckoned us every day. Longtime considered as the highest mountain on the planet, Chimborazo was dethroned by the Himalayan and Peruvian peaks. Nevertheless, considering the geometry of the Earth, this summit is known as the farthest point from its center, that’s what a plaque at the park entrance says.

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Up up and away.

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A herd of vicuña.

Not that we had any plans to climb it, but we wanted to hike to the first refugio (Carrel) and since it is at around 4800 m it required the acclimatization.

So we spent a night at the park entrance and then took off the next morning.

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We didn’t sleep too well at that altitude.

It doesn’t seem far when you go up, but the slow pace makes it a longer hike than expected. Günter went up to the lake while I crawled up the trail with my body calling for more oxygen. I was also enthralled by the hundreds of vicuñas that can be seen poking around in the area. They had been hunted to extinction in Ecuador and were imported  again from Peru, Bolivia and Chile in 1980. They are a protected species of the Andes.

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No, we were not up there at 6310 m, this picture was taken near the 5000 m level.

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Foggy

Here the name Alexander von Humboldt cropped up again, he did amazing work during the years he spent in South America. In 1802 he and a French climber made it to the 5883 m level of Chimborazo, but had to turn around just short of scaling the peak. The Italian J.A Carrel and British climber E. Whymper eventually were the first to reach the top.

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Alexander von Humboldt at Chimborazo

When we came back down there were several people headed up the trail, it seems to be quite popular. We had enough of the cold and thin air and went to Riobamba. A laid back town, nice to just walk around. On day two we did just that and heard music coming from the area of the train station, we followed the music and suddenly were confronted with an incredible sight. A sea of colours, people, dressed in the native costumes, from all the areas of Chimborazo province. On the stage were politicians holding fiery speeches, the band was playing local music and the people were cheering. We read in the paper the next day that there were over 30 000 people at this demonstration. It was great for us to be able to see so many people from different mountain towns. Their outfits, colors and hats changed by town and area. White alpaca felt hats with baubles, or gold bands, short brim, wide brim, dark felt fedoras with peacock feathers or flower pins.

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A woman’s pride and joy is the pin that holds the shawl together.

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We used to call that a “sit in”…..

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They do not like the sun in their face, note the long straight skirts, different from the other towns skirts.

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The guy is the only one not laughing 🙂

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Alpaca felt hats.

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Cuenca is a beautiful colonial town and has it all. Great weather, nice restaurants and a tree-shaded river to go for walks. It has thermal pools at the edge of town where you can get pampered, great hiking trails in the hills surrounding the town. And it has “Gringolandia”, an area that is very popular with North American Expats. We met three of them in a coffee shop and got some insight into expat life here. It sounds some of them are now moving to Colombia and Bolivia, the new “hot spots” for foreign retirees.An adventurous bunch those baby boomers (we are boomers too, I keep forgetting).

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Cuenca

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The cathedrals towers were never finished, Germany donated the bells to these towers in 1880. The bells where too heavy, the towers never finished (because of a miscalculation by the architect) and the bells are now ringing in a town near the coast.

 

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Saint Marcus chapel, religious order of the Oblate.

We camped at a hacienda near Cuenca, Hosteria Caballo Campana is a colonial family-run Hacienda hidden in the forests. They breed horses and have beautiful stables and arenas. The owners were very welcoming and nice. I loved waking up to the smells and sounds of horses, could have hung out longer.

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Three hours old and ready for the world.

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He liked to nuzzle me.

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Hola Ecuador

Ecuador, land of  volcanos. “The spine of the Andes” runs through the middle of the country and crosses the equator. To the east the land drops off to the Amazonian jungle, to the west to the fertile lowlands and the Pacific coast. The mountain climate ranges from mild in places like Quito, to cold and colder as you go higher. In the lowlands it gets hot and in places humid. Our first stop was at the Finca Sommerwind near Ibarra. A great place to hang out and regroup. Günter got the tire patched, it had been losing air and we found a nail and a screw in it. He rode the bicycle around the lake a few times and to the store while I was lazing around the finca.

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Spring cleaning!

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Stewed plums and cheeses sandwich! Delicious, really!

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Christian und Günter testing the plum-cheese Sandwich!

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Skirts, pleated.

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I love that Picture!

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Couldn’t pass them up.

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Crashed a wedding again….

After a visit to Otovalo we drove to volcano Cayambe, crossed the equator a few times and then spent a few days at Quilotoa crater lake. More than ten years ago we had been there as backpackers and at that time only a ramshackle building stood on the wind-swept plain near the crater. Now there is a thriving tourism infrastructure, artisan shops, restaurants and places to stay. What a difference. Tourism has a dark side as well of course and we found out quickly that if you try to take a picture of an alpaca, lama or people you are told that you have to pay in no uncertain terms. Well, my alpaca photos were free, but it takes the fun out of an experience if you leave an angry person behind.

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Cayambe

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Hard to see, but the white stuff on top is the glacier.

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Refugio

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Günter wanted to hiked around Quilotoa crater and decided to go my own way and followed a foot path down through steep fields of lupins to a little settlement at the edge of the canyon. From there I climbed back up to a ridge. The air is thin at almost 4000 m, so it took me a while. On the ridge a woman was threshing her lupin harvest and after I watched her for a while I asked her a few things about the beans. They are called chochos and taste very good, need to be soaked and boiled first (with lime?), she also grinds them into flour. It is a form of domesticated lupin. Anyway, I shared the better part of my lunch with her and then helped her with the threshing( I actually developed two blister on my hand ) Finally a friend of hers came down the ridge and brought lunch, potato soup. Meanwhile Günter had called me on the radio to let me know that he was back from his hike, so I bid my farewell. At the camp site we were met with a nice surprise, Vroni and Michael as well as Lise and Laurent had arrived, friends and fellow overlanders. We built a fire in the evening and exchanged stories about our trip.

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Quilotoa crater lake.

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The trail around the lake.

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Lupin fields .

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The canyon.

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The apple was part of my lunch….

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Before we left the area we went to the market.

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More pleated skirts.

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I never lose Günter.

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That’s brown sugar

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Since we had not been on a beach since Central America and felt like eating some fresh fish we decided to go down to the Pacific coast. Puerto Lopez is a busy fishing town and we spent a lot of time looking at boats and nets, talked to fellow fishermen and of course ate lots of fish, especially ceviche. The seiners were laid up, but there were gillnetters and longliners, fishing out of small boats, they brought in all kinds of little fish and many large billfish. We camped at Isla Mar, on a bluff overlooking Salango, an even smaller fishing town. At the edge of town is a fish meal factory and the main employer. They produce fish meal for pellets to sell to the Chilean farmed salmon industry. With its perfect crescent beach full of pangas, a rock out cropping and the fish factory at the end , Salango reminded us of Cabo San Lucas on the Baja 35 years ago. When we first went there many years ago, this is what it looked like and yes, Cabo had a smelly tuna cannery at the edge of town.

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Pueblo Nuevo beach.

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Wild camping at its best!

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The well.

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Water transport.

 

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Los Frailles.

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Its bill fish season.

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Unloading

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Salango with fish meal plant on the right. This was the view from the camper.

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Walking into town.

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A boat trip to Isla de la Plata is a must if you are here and have time. The humpback whales hang out here to mate and have their young. Like our Alaskan humpback do in Hawaii.

The island is 40 km off shore and there were fourteen of us on the boat, the sea was rough and some people got seasick. We saw a pod of six whales, most of them have left for the south and the antarctic summer. The hike on the island was nice and it was fun to watch the blue footed boobies and frigate birds. There are a few albatross pairs but we were not allowed to go to their habitat, they do not do well with humans. Before we headed back to the mainland we went snorkeling, there are a few tropical fish and some turtles. I just enjoyed swimming in the sea again and did not bother with the snorkel part.

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Isla de la Plata

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Balztanz

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Yes, blue footed boobies (Blaufusstölpel)

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Frigat bird hombre.

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has a bulb……

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The pukers in the back…..

Today is September 29th, time flies and spring starts in the south. We are parked at the entrance to Chimborazo National Park. After wo days camping at Chinipamba, a little indigenous settlement at the foot of the volcano we drove higher today. Need to acclimate to the altitude, tomorrow we will go higher and then maybe hike to 5000 m.

Chinipamba is in the middle of nowhere and we happened to end up there because we saw a lake on the map and thought we could maybe stop there for a few days. But the roads on the map are not always reality, the first lake had a water slide and cinderella castle (no thanks) and the way to the second lake did not exist. So we kept on going on a different dirt road, higher and higher, by now it was 6 pm, finally when we came around a corner and saw Chimborazo bathed in the sunset. A great place, so we just asked some locals if we could stay at the edge of a field. The next two days we met the whole community and had constant visitors, when we went for walks through the fields they would come up to us and shake our hands to welcome us. They showed us their guinea pigs, hogs and cows, potato and quinoa fields and brought over boiled potatoes for dinner. When we told them that guinea pigs are mascots where we come from, and that we would never eat them, they thought we were crazy and reassured us that they taste delicious. Well, I finally told them that in countries like China they eat dogs and then they were shocked, said they love their dogs and can’t imagine eating them. Günter showed them how to play horse shoe and played soccer with them. The night of the RED MOON they built a fire near our camper and we all watched the moon change, it was an unforgetful experience, to stand there at the foot of a 6000 m volcano and see this phenomena.

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Great camp spot in Chinipamba.

 

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Can’t beat the view!

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Or the company!

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Grandmas “cuy barn”, the favorite on the dinner menu!

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Grandmas chickens.

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Hiking in the foothills of Chimborazo is beautiful.

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Through potato fields….

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…and quinoa.

 

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Playing horse shoe, a new game for the kids.

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Here comes the moon!

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September 27th 2015 —- lunar eclipse!

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Blood moon!

 

 

 

Posted in Ecuador | 5 Comments

Tatacoa Desert – Tierradentro – San Augustin

After a short stint in the Tatacoa desert and more bike riding we went to see the famous tombs of Tierradentro and statues in San Augustin. Both sites were very interesting, the towns nice and the people friendly. To see the sites you have to do a lot of hiking and the last day we took horses which made it easier, but the next day was harder (sore muscles;-)

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Camping in the desert.

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We rode our bikes all over the place…..

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The road there is on a former railway track.

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more birds

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A natural spring to cool off.

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Tierradentro, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pre-Colombian, Several monumental statues of human figures can be seen in the park, which also contains many hypogea dating from the 6th to the 10th century. These huge underground tombs (some burial chambers are up to 12 m wide) are decorated with motifs that reproduce the internal decor of homes of the period. They reveal the social complexity and cultural wealth of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andes.

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To visit the tombs you have to hike all day.

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The tomb entrances on Aguacate Ridge.

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Yes, they were on the ridge as well, protecting the UNESCO site.

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We climbed down into 20 or more tombs, big steps, it was hard!

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Sorting coffee

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Hike past little farms and people.

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drying coffee beans in the sun.

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These orchids grew on a branch that had fallen off a tree.

San Augustin, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pre-Colombian:

ln the pre-agricultural period, from c 3300 to c 600 BC, san Agustin was occupied by a society with a rudimentary stone technology using unretouched basalt chips; their principal food was wild fruits, but hunting cannot be ruled out. Nothing is known of their political or social structures, but it is assumed that they were kinship-based:

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On day two we rented horses and a guide.

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The skier!

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The frog

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We skipped the Cali and Medellin areas and decided to head to toward Ecuador. So we had to cross the mountains again to get to the Panamericana in Pasto. Well the road from Mocoa to San Francisco was a crazy drive, it is unpaved and single track, there were land slides and many large trucks that are always in a hurry and don’t want to slow down. Sometimes it was almost impossible to pass and on one of those occasions a large fuel tanker truck passed us so closely that he broke the side window in our camper with his mirror. We could not get out of the way since we only had inches between the tires and a 200 meter drop off, no guard rail and the road bed was not stable.

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A large truck passed close enough to break our window with his mirror.

Needless to say I was really glad when we – 6 hours later – arrived in the valley on the other side. Volcano El Azufral was our last stop in Colombia, we drove up to to the trail head and then hiked up to the crater rim at 4000 m. Günter descended into the crater and to the lake “Laguna Verde” while I stayed and took pictures of the amazing flora of the paramour.

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The smell was amazing!

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We left Colombia with a heavy heart, wanted to go to many more places, experience more and enjoy the hospitality of the great Colombian people. We’ll be back!

Recommended reading:

“The sound of things falling”  (Juan Gabriel Vasquez) tags: Cocaine, Peace Corps, Love

La otra raya del tigre” ,  Pedro Gómez Valderrama,  tags: Geo von Lengerke

(Spanish only)

and of course by book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

Posted in Colombia | 4 Comments

Coffee country and volcan Machin

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The famous “Cramer’s Eighty-eight” butterfly landed on my arm and hung out for a while.

Colombia is famous for its coffee. So we went looking for Juan Valdez, the campesino and his mule Conchita that has been advertising Café de Colombia all over the world for many years. Leaving Bogota we headed west and first drove to Los  Nevados National Park in the central Cordillera of the Colombian Andes. The 5,300 m-high volcano Nevado del Ruiz dominates Los Nevados.  At the Thermales Ruiz we camped, relaxed in the hot water and did some bird watching. The next day though the fog rolled in and the trails to the volcano were closed due to recent volcanic activity. On our walks we could not get over the unusual and beautiful wildflowers and other plants that grow at such a high altitude.

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Thermales Ruiz

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Gentian ? Enzian?

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Bleeding heart?

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We left, crossed over the Rio Magdalena to Manizales and camped at Hacienda Guayabal in Chinchina. 64 hectar of coffee plants on steep hills, we saw the coffee harvest and production and drank great coffee. There we finally ran into Juan Valdez.

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Juan Valdez is watching you!

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Coffee cherries, ripe for the picking (yellow and red anyway)

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C A F F E E trink nicht so viel Kaffee…..lala

On to Salento we went, broke out the bicycles and rode to the Valle do Cocora, famous for the very high wax palms, the nation tree of Colombia.

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Riding up the Cocora Valley.

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Wax palms grow up to 60 meters in hight.

Salento is a pretty town , has great climate and is a major tourist destination. People from other parts of Colombia come here on the weekends. It is also crowded with backpackers and has many hostels. We did the popular hike to the hut in the hills, drank hot chocolate with cheese (you put them in the hot chocolate) and enjoyed the views.

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Salento and hiker.

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Views of Cocora Valley.

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That’s a loooong tail!

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Coati at the “hot-chocolate-and-cheese-hut”.

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Hot chocolate and cheese…..

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In town we talked to the owner of a bicycle rental and he pointed out a road on a map that goes over the mountains to Ibarra. He said there are many more wax palms on that route. We wanted to see that, so we took off and headed out of Salento up into the mountains again. It was a beautiful drive, single track dirt road (4×4 not needed) and winds its way over passes and through valleys. In Toche we took a left and continued up again. When it got late in the day we camped beside the road under the peak of Cerro Machin Volcano, near a hot spring. There was no traffic at all other than people on horseback or on foot. And the wax palms were everywhere, whole forests, we came to realize that they actually grow in/as a forest and what we had seen in the Valley de Cocora were sad remnants of a forest that had been cleared for cattle farming.

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A wax palm forest untouched.

Roadside attractions on the drive from Salento to Ibarra via Toche and Machine volcano.

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Paso Fino Columbiano

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Toche

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 Toche town center.

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Moving truck.

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Oops

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It took Günter a while to find this nice man that just happened to have a chain saw.

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armadillo – Gürteltier

 

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It was a two-day drive and we are glad we took this route. Günter has driven over 40 000 miles by now and is doing a great job. I, Sissi, have driven 100 meters so far.

Posted in Colombia | 5 Comments