Vilcabamba, Ecuador

Vilcabamba – the valley of longevity or Iris & Caramello

After another bus ride with some nice bus accessories and people doing their moving with the bus…

… we arrived in Vilcabamba – in the valley of longevity – had our first beer and made new friends.

And yes, we booked a wellness temple! The first day was – of course – at the pool!

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Banos, Ecuador

Banos

On the way to Banos, we passed the small town Pelileo!! No tourist sites, so what’s so special about it? IC Community! Don’t know? Fränky, you don’t know, you have Rumba, but the others…?? Think! Right, Pelileo is the home town of Victoria!

Banos itself is a very touristy city, both for Ecuadorian tourists and gringos. We took the first day easy to organize some things, e.g. doing our laundry and drink some fresh lemonade and juice…

In Banos, you can find everything…. pimped cars, Restaurants (run by colleagues??), not so well maintained bridges… (we were not sure if we should take it… but there were horse drops around – horses are heavier than we are… to keep it short, we made it and the bridge didn’t break!)

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Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador

Quilotoa Loop

Quilo…what?

Yes, believe it or not – this question occurs even if you talk to fellow travellers around in Ecuador. It’s obviously not the standard destination, even though it is listed as one of the places to see for Ecuador.

Why it is not that touristy as other places? Easy to explain, if you just reference to the appropriate Lonely Planet section about transportation starting “No busses go all around the loop…” and closing with “Don’t worry – everyone’s confused.”

But that simply couldn’t scare us off!

Latacunga

“Base camp” for the start was easily set up in Latacunga. Anything special about it…? No! It is an easy going town on the Panamericana – South Americas blood stream and everything but touristy.

And it was here, that I had one of the most funny conversations with local people so far: Imagine you enter a bakery and wanna buy some bread… For sure your Spanish is bad, but well enough – at least pointing at pieces – to show what you want and the lady in the bakery manages English well enough to make sure how much it costs. The usual question where you are from and your standard answer “Aleman” is followed by a surprised smile from the bakery lady… “Aleman, Frankfurt, train station” – and she obviously has been there before, because she can describe – or better point out with her hands – how the roof of the train station looks like *smiley smiling*

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Cotopaxi, Ecuador

5000 m! (Cotopaxi)

Bis zum Gletscher des Cotopaxi (5897m) auf der Nordseite haben wir es geschafft. Ja, Gletscher auf der Nordseite, das ist der höhergelegene Gletscher (5000 m), wir sind schliesslich auf der Südhalbkugel! Für den Summit hätten wir Steigeisen und Pickel gebraucht… wir haben es uns aber verkniffen, schliesslich waren wir erst den 2. Tag wieder auf 3000m Höhe (vorher in Galapagos auf Meereshöhe) und auf 5000m ist die Luft dann doch etwas dünn und es war furchtbar stürmisch.

Aber der Reihe nach:
Nachdem uns der Bus Richtung Latacunga tatsächlich an der richtigen Abzweigung rausgelassen und Thorsten noch zwei Park Ranger aufgegabelt hatte, die sich für den Gegenwert eines Feierabendbierchens bereit erklärt hatten, für uns noch die letzten 2 km auf schlechter Strasse Taxi zu spielen, haben wir eine sehr gemütliche Unterkunft in der Cotopaxi-Region bezogen und gleich neue Freunde gefunden.

Am ersten Tag haben wir die Gegend mit dem Mountainbike unsicher gemacht. Strassen nicht geteert mit Hammer Löchern und Geröll – Berg auf und ab, der ein oder andere Weg, der im Nichts endet…

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Galapagos, Ecuador

Galapagos…continued (Santa Cruz and Farewell)

Isla Santa Cruz

Official” program
Visiting Lonesome George, the last of his species…

Prolongation on our own
Mainly drinking coffee, having nice food and relaxing at wonderful beaches…

Unfortunately it’s now time to leave “paradise” and go some other scenic places…however this is definitely one of the highlights of our tour

Stay tuned for the next updates…

P.S.: Who of you is still reading? Any feedback? Comments?

Galapagos, Ecuador

Galapagos…continued

But how do you get to see all this?

The arrival on the islands is similar to the approach to some other remote sunny paradises on this world…very small airport and a lot of tourists What is already different, is the entrance fee you have to pay before being allowed to leave the airport – a quite substantial USD 100.

Nevertheless the airline that brought us here already had the right logo on their planes

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Galapagos, Ecuador

Galapagos

After quite some time without (fast enough) internet….to put a weeks visit into a single word: Fantastic!

Why is Galapagos “fantastic”? Well, it’s really hard to describe…but it’s less the number of species or individual animals that you will see, it’s more about your interaction with them – or at least their fearlessness.

Where else can you come closer than a meter to some birds, watching them, taking pictures and they don’t seem to feel the need to fly away. Instead they are observing you, as you are not the visitor but them.

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