From Alaska to Tierra del Fuego

I'm hiking in the rain

Before hiking the 5 day inka trail in Peru I wanted to test how the altitude is treating me and went to the Cajas National Park near Cuenca on a two day hike.

I did not go alone, but with two German guys and a Frenchman, who wanted to fish or trout in the countless lakes.

I had met them ,as well as a girl from the Netherlands, on the bus to Cuenca and we had walked to town together. The centre was pretty much closed down for traffic as a festival was going on. For the same reason we ended up sleeping in the unfinished rooms in the attic of a very friendly hostel (Hogar Cuencano), because there was no (other) room for us in the inn.

The dutch girl did not feel like hiking, but when I came back she was still in the hostel, which was nice. Hanging out with these four people was very relaxing and natural anyway, there is something like a European mindset, maybe something to remember as all the discussions about Europe these days are focusing only on money.

In the Park there is also an inka trail as the empire did extend all the way from Peru to Ecuador, so in a way I was already on the way to Machu Picchu.

The first day me, the Germans and the French guy hiked together, ridiculously out of breath after every little hill because of the altitude, but with no other problems. We arrived on the big lake where we wanted to camp early afternoon and the Germans started fishing. And then in started to rain and it rained and rained and rained...

At some point I went to bed, to be awoken at 5 am as the French guy wanted to catch a bus in the afternoon, but it was still raining and dark outside, so I decided to spend a few more hours in my sleeping bed. I got up and packed up in the short time it wasn't raining, but after one hour of hiking it started again. And did not stop.

The trail transformed into a mudpit or a stream, forcing me to jump from slippery stone to slippery stone. I had thought the second day would be easier, as my map indicated it was going downhill all the way, but it was a steep and tricky climb.

I have never been that miserably wet during hiking, and most of the hiking I did in my life was in Iceland! The only highlight of the hike was passing two Alpakas, who were staring at me relaxed and warm in their thick fur and I swear I heard them snicker at me behind my back. I was glad when I reached the end of the trail and could walk on a road towards the highway, at least I was not wading through mud anymore!

I had learned the value of gaiters and my rescue sheet during the hike, thanks to by brother Stefan and my sister Andrea for the advice!

When I was walking to the highway a local Rancher saw me and as he was on the way to Cuenca anyway offered to give me a lift, not before giving me some hot tea and cookies. His house was built into and around the rocks on his ranch, so some of the walls were rock, which looked really cool.

Back in Cuenca I had a very long hot shower. I hope it will not rain that much in Peru.

Posted on 19 May 2013, 2:11 - Categories: Ecuador

A stand up comedian in Cuenca

Posted on 19 May 2013, 2:06 - Categories: Ecuador

A day at the beach

I went to the beach near Puerto Lopez to hike around a bit and take pictures...

It is a beautiful place, I did not in any way enhance the colours in the pictures.

I went by tuk tuk (the badass version with a motorbike, not a scooter) and got to drive my first motorbike until the driver started to feel anxious...
At the beach he accompanied me for a bit and I got an idea of the misconceptions about Europeans in general and Germans in particular that exist in Ecuador. Some more entries for my book of generalisations! Or maybe he was pulling my leg by asking strange questions.
On the way back to town this happened:

But it had nothing to do with me driving it before, it was simply a flat tire.

Posted on 19 May 2013, 2:03 - Categories: Ecuador

Galapagos - almost

I did not go to the Galapagos Islands, I had failed to rob a bank on my way to Ecuador and am running out of rich relatives as well. Instead I went to the alternative for poor people like me, an island of non-volcanic origin, but with similar wild life.

So here they are, the famous blue-footed boobies (I double checked the name, for obvious reasons :) being in love:

and the result of that love:

As I had to join a tour to make it to the island (swimming was not an option) I ended up spending the day with adventist missionaries. I was smart enough to avoid the topic of religion, though (or to be honest about my view on organised religion or missionary activities in general) and got rewarded with a nice dinner as they were really friendly people.

Posted on 18 May 2013, 24:53 - Categories: Ecuador

A new hat!

I lost my hat a long time ago and never really felt like buying a new one, but from Panama on was haunted by the Panama hat.

Contrary to the name the hat is traditionally from Ecuador and the art of making them is dying out, thanks to cheap Chinese copies made out of paper instead of palm leaves. So I ventured to the old town of Montecristi

to see them being made and even try to weave a bit myself

a real Panama hat is waterproof (to an extend of course, not a whole day of pouring rain) and can be rolled up for storage, two requirements I have of a hat. Plus they look cool!

Posted on 18 May 2013, 24:49 - Categories: Ecuador

I wonder what the door did....

Posted on 18 May 2013, 24:46 - Categories: Ecuador

Ein Eintrag auf Deutsch!

A friend asked me to write an entry in German, so any non German speaker, there is a summary at the end of the post. Or learn German...

Ich habe Quito nicht so gemocht. Wahrscheinlich lag es aber eher an mir, als an der Stadt, sie liegt echt schoen, in den Bergen und es ist wirklich Fruehlingswetter (dafuer ist Quito beruehmt).
Ich hatte damit gerechnet, dass der Busbahnhof in Quito so ist wie die in Kolumbien, dass heisst mit Restaurants und Internet Cafes und so. Darum hatte ich mich auch nicht wirklich darum gekuemmert vorher ein Hostel zu suchen (bzw nicht daran gedacht)und hatte auch nicht wirklich ein Plan wie ich denn in die Innenstadt komme.
Zum Glueck gibt es in Quito, wie ueberall anders in Suedamerka, immer viele Leute die man fragen kann, und ein aelterer Herr, der auch in die Innenstadt musste zeigte mir (und einen Hare Krishna Anhaenger aus Argentinien, der versuchte mich zu Konvertieren, aber an meiner Unspiritualitaet verzweifelte: "Bist du Vegetarier?" "Ne, ich ess alles"; "Bist du spiritiuell?" "Nein")den richtigen Bus.
Leider musste er vor mir aussteigen, daher verpasste ich natuerlich meine Haltestelle. Also austeigen, Taxi finden (da es schon dunkel war und man nicht von der Altstadt in die Neustadt zu Fuss gehen sollte) und dann kam ich endlich im Touri Viertel an, fand ein Internet Cafe, fand ein Hostel auf Hostelworld, die hatten noch genau 1 Bett frei, juhhuu!
In Quito bin habe ich einen Tag verbracht und bin durch die Altstadt gelaufen, sie ist nett aber ich fand die Trennung von Altstadt un Touri Stadt was bloed, da man in der einen schwer ein Kaffe trinken kann und in der anderen nichts zu sehen ist ausser Restaurants und Souvenierlaeden. Also bin ich einen Tag speater zur Kueste gefahren, Blaufusstoelpel anschauen...
So Judith, da habe ich mal auf Deutsch geschrieben, dann richte dir mal skype ein :P

Basically (and I´m too lazy to write everything again in English) I arrived in Quito by bus, was lost in terms of where I was and where I had to go to, spend a day walking around, not being overly impressed by Quito and was not converted to Hare Krishnarism.

Posted on 9 Nov 2012, 3:57 - Categories: Ecuador


Jasmin is hopefully taking over my blog for one or two entries, as she has a lot of Ecuador and Colombia advice, as she spend half a year living in Ecuador.

Posted on 10 Jun 2012, 18:06 - Categories: Ecuador