Meanderings in Ecuador

“It has become difficult to be a pioneer. The world has been done. There are only the adventurers now, this new breed of fanatic: rangy large-toothed guys seeking not knowledge or even territory, but novelty, managed suffering, ‘experience’, material sponsorship – K2 by canoe, the Amazon by bike, the North Pole on stilts.”

Quoted from “The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places” by William Aktins

No, we were not suffering from the delusion that we were going on a unique adventure nor to go to places where few had tread. Just a nice vacation with hopefully no suffering and without expectations of material sponsorship, e.g., such as so-called “influencers” who demand free board and lodging when they travel in return for their publicity. The main purpose of our trip was one-week in Galapagos, but the flight was too long to consider only one week in Ecuador. Besides, we had enjoyed our travels there years before and were looking forward to a few places we had not visited.

Quito: we had stayed in the old town on our first trip in a huge hostel called the Gran Gringo, which had long since disappeared. We stayed in the old town for a couple of nights before realizing that the area had become too dangerous and the streets were empty in the evening, soon relocating to the “New Town.”

image016

image019

image020

image022

We took a day trip to Otavalo, a small town we a great market. We had been there before, but the pictures we had taken were lost. We only had slide film in those days, and since we were traveling for a longer time, we asked two Americans to take our exposed rolls of film and mail it from the US to Europe. There were skeptical, fearing that we put cocaine in the film and wanted them to smuggle it, but we assured them that it was only film and that it they were afraid, they should not take it. Well, they took the film but never mailed it and probably threw them away before flying back to the States.

image007

image008

image009

image010

image011

image012

A spectacular ride down to Baňos, also known as the “Gateway to the Amazon”.

image034

image035

image037

image038

image039

image041

image042

image043

image046

One thing we really wanted to do on our first trip to Ecuador was ride on the roof of train down to Guayaquil. The train no longer traveled that far, but we still wanted to experience it. We got up very early to get a space on the roof, but hordes of other tourists were already there. It was a spectacular ride with great views, but unfortunately the train broke down shortly after descending into a valley. It was a long hike up to a place where there were buses, but of course with insufficient seats for all. It became a bit unpleasant with loud arguments between tourists.

image056

image059

image064

image065

image067

image068

image071

image074 (2)

image076

We were fortunate to get seat on a bus to Cuenca.

image079

image080

image081

image092

image096

image098

image099

image100

Parque Nacional Cajas, 28,800 hectare pack approx. 30 km west of Cuenca

image101

image108

image109

image110

Volcanic crater lake of Quilota

image104

image106image116

image117

image118

Gualaceo market, 25 km west of Cuenca

image130

image132

image135

image136

image147

image155

image156

image168

image172

image173

Our daughter had been in an exchange program with high school students from Ecuador. José stayed with us for two months and our daughter with his family for two months the following year. Of course, we visited his family when we were there.

image182 (2)

image184

They also drove us to the site where the equator passed through Ecuador.

image436

image437

We then spent a fabulous week touring Galapagos, which is described in a separate post on my blog.

After returning to the mainland, we headed up into the Andes and spent a few days hiking. We stayed at a great small inn, super eco-friendly, called Black Sheep and run by two US Americans. They claimed that they had found their calling in life there, but years later I saw that the place was for sale for the not insubstantial sum of $300,000.

Black Sheep Inn

image460

image463

Hiking in the area

image446

image447

image443

image453

image454

image458

Wish we had had more time!

11 thoughts on “Meanderings in Ecuador

  1. Amazing trip. Terrifying cable car ride though!! I don’t know if I could do that lol. And the market photos look great, looks like such a lively place.

    Thank you for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.