Blogs from Centre, Ecuador, South America

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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Cotopaxi March 17th 2019

Today we are going on the Tren de los Volcanes. This tourist train follows a 50 mile route to El Boliche which, it claims, gives you the opportunity to see 15 volcanoes in good weather. There aren’t any passenger trains in Ecuador; the taxi driver doesn’t even know where the station is, and tries to drop us at the offices of Tren Ecuador. Luckily, a motor cyclist explains his error, we get back in the taxi and follow the motorcyclist to Chimbacalle station. We board our train and set off flanked by a team of motor cycle outriders to keep the tracks clear. We have only been able to book aisle seats, Ecuadorean families have booked all the window seats. But once underway, the families move to sit together (a group of 7 have booked 6 ... read more
Tren Ecuador
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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños February 15th 2019

Fair warning...this will be a blog entry of many photos and not so many words. I'm trying to get it written and published before the next big event in my life...the arrival of my niece Tovah and her boyfriend Max in Ecuador. I'm so excited to show them around, but I need to sew up this chapter before starting on the next. It's been over two months since I got back home, and more than a little challenging to rediscover my peaceful rhythm of life. As my plane circled over the green green Andes, my heart soared to be returning home. If you read my last two blogs about my loooonnngg visit in the US (over two months!) you'll understand a bit how exhilarated I felt to touch down again in my beloved Ecuador. In the ... read more
Garage Sale Buddies
December Birthdays
A visit from an old friend

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños September 12th 2018

As always, my low-key semi-retired life ends up getting more busy than I expect! In the past two months I've received several visitors (back-to-back visits from two of my closest Ecuadorian friends!). I've driven back and forth to Quito half a dozen times (helping my friend Shana renew her passport and visa, picking up donations, transporting friends' family members to and from the airport and driving the volunteers from Engineers Without Borders). On one of my airport runs we stayed the night in a hostel near the airport and then I drove my friend's brother to the terminal at 4:30 am for his early international flight. I had donations to collect but couldn't arrive before 7:30 am -- just my luck, my good friend Betti who lives 2 hrs north of Quito was staying at Hotel ... read more
Daybreak from Hotel Quito
Spring Rolls
My Ugly Old Sink

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños July 12th 2018

In the six weeks since I published my last blog entry I've been a travelling fool! I've had several paid driving gigs a couple of trips taking friends around. Although Ecuador is a small country, when it comes to crossing the Andes a 300 mile journey can take a full day! I´ve been over to the coast twice, down to the edge of the Amazon Basin twice, and up to Quito and back a few times. First CiCi and I took a trip down to the coast with my rentor, Mark and his two dogs, Sally and Paco. We had arranged for this excursion even before he moved in. Mark has some friends from when he lived in Cuenca who rent a place in Montañita for a month each year and friends and relatives come to ... read more
paco n mark
Freddy and Family
Raw Wool

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa July 8th 2018

From the Amazon to the mountains in mere hours, we managed to survive the extremely packed Quito buses (prime for pick pocketing, have your bag in front of you and nothing in your pockets) at only 25 cents a trip, to get to the south bus terminal (bus C4 to the end). One way to Latacunga then a change for Quilotoa on a local bus, both trips took two hours. We arrived at Quilotoa which is a small village on the top of the crater. A town with half built buildings and average $30 total per night accommodation but priced per person. Our accommodation included dinner and breakfast. At 3900 masl, the temperature was quite cold so having layers is necessary. We spent a very cold night in our room covered in three blankets. The aim ... read more
Surrounding Landscape
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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa June 30th 2018

Day 1 Today (22/05/2018) we are setting off on a three day hike known as The Quilotoa Loop in the Andean mountains of Ecuador. It’s a self guided hike so we haven’t needed to pay for a guide and have just booked to stay in hostels along the way that provided breakfast, dinner and the option of a packed lunch. We found out about the hike from Mark, a Kiwi guy who we met all the way back in October last year in India and ever since then we’ve been really keen to do it. The information we've read suggests that the walk is anywhere between 30-40 km starting off at 2,600m above sea level in Sigchos and finishing at just under 4,000m at the 3 km wide crater of a volcano in Quilotoa that is ... read more
On our way
Logan the candy man
Hostel Cristobel

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños June 20th 2018

After finishing the Quilotoa loop, I went from Quilotoa to Latacunga and from there to Baños. The bus ride from Quilotoa to Latacunga is about 2 hours (2$) and it’s 3 hours (4$) from Latacunga to Baños (you have to change buses in Ambato). In the first bus, I met Shane from Australia. I had seen him earlier in my hostel in Isinlivi and a few times during the hike, but we had never really talked before. He’s a very nice guy (around his 40s or 50s I guess) and he has been to almost every country in the world, except for South America. He was also going to Baños, even to the same hostel as me, so we decided to travel together. In Latacunga we went to pick up our luggage and on the way ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Baños June 20th 2018

Nachdem ich den Quilotoa loop beendet hatte, bin ich von Quilotoa nach Latacunga gefahren und von dort aus nach Baños. Die Busfahrt von Quilotoa nach Latacunga dauert ungefähr 2 Stunden (2$) und von dort aus sind es nochmal 3 Stunden (4$) nach Baños (mit einem Buswechsel in Ambato). Im ersten Bus habe ich Shane aus Australien kennengelernt. Ich hatte ihn bereits vorher in meinem Hostel in Isinlivi und ein paar Mal unterwegs gesehen, aber wir haben nie wirklich mit einander gesprochen. Er ist ein sehr netter Mann (um die 40 oder 50 denke ich) und er war schon in fast jedem Land der Welt außer in Südamerika. Er fuhr auch nach Baños, hatte sogar dasselbe Hostel gebucht wie ich, und so entschieden wir zusammen zu reisen. In Latacunga haben wir jeder unser Gepäck abgeholt und haben ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa June 17th 2018

Dienstag, den 14. Juni bin ich um 5h30 aufgestanden um einen Bus zum Quitumbe Busterminal zu nehmen. Das Bussystem in Quito ist super, nicht zu kompliziert und die Busse sind ziemlich günstig (0,25$). Von Mariscal aus dauerte es ungefähr 1 Stunde bis zum Busterminal aber glücklicherweise war um diese Uhrzeit noch nicht viel los im Bus. :-) Von dort aus nahm ich einen Bus nach Latacunga. Dieser Bus kostet nur 2,5$ und braucht ungefähr 90 Minuten. Der Bus war sehr bequem und die Landschaft sehr schön. In Latacunga habe ich dann ein Taxi zum Hostel Tiana genommen. Dort haben sie eine sehr günstige Gepäckabgabe : nur 1$ pro Tag wenn man mindestens 1 Nacht dort schläft und am Tag der Übernachtung ist es gratis. So zählte ich nur 3$ und war mein ganzes schweres Gepäck los ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Centre » Quilotoa June 17th 2018

On Thursday, June 14th, I got up at 5:30 to take a bus to the Quitumbe bus terminal. The bus system in Quito is great, not too difficult and buses are pretty cheap (0,25$). From Mariscal, it was a bit more than an hour to this bus terminal but so early it wasn't too crowded yet. :-) From there, I took a bus to Latacunga. It only cost 2,5$ and took about 90 minutes. The bus was very comfortable and the landscape pretty nice. In Latacunga, I took a taxi to the Hostel Tiana. They have very cheap luggage storage : only 1$ per day if you stay at least 1 night in this hostel and the day of your stay the storage is free. So I only paid 3$ and was rid of all my ... read more
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