to june 2003 travelling around south-america.
language corse in quito, equador and discovering equador by trekking,
flight south (terra de fuego)
biking northward along the andes in argentina and chile
to europe from santiago on
finally i managed to find some
and moreover an internet-cafe with the possibility of transfering my
to the web! yeah! So here they come, the newsletters from
Just a little remark on the
of this web-page. On this page, i put, besides the newsletters,
only some thumbnail-images, for people with slow internet access.
my digital pics are stored in subfolders named in function of the
all under http://kaempfer.pirate.ch/southamericaPics/...(e.g., quito, banos, pichinchas) , so if
interested and have fast internet-access ;-) , you might want
to check them out.
Moreover, I'll put the newsletters
in inverse chronological order. So you can start reading the newest
one without having the old ones to load (and it makes editing easier
for me ;-)
So, enough of administrative bla, bla, let's go.
Viernes, 20 de junio 2003
So, this will probably be one of the last newsletters here on
page. But just before flying back home, i could not resist the
to put some winter-images on the web for all you back home in that heat
have;-). As i think said, i tested the andinan snow the first
in Portillo, Chile: perfect powder snow, great weather & nearly no
it was perfect (pics below or here).
Img 446: Perfect skiing/boarding conditions!
Img 447: This is the view down towards the hotel Portillo.
So, after this very nice bike-break, i cycled down (2500m) to
Santiago, where i pass my last couple of days in southamerica (pics
After several month of quiet Patagonia and Cordillera, i still did not
used to this busy town! Somehow i'm looking forward to fly out;-) even
this means the end of my vacations:-(, but it seems that i'm just not
for cities as big as this one...
Img 452: The last morning in 'nature': somewhere below the smog
(aeh, mist) is Santiago.
Img 456: And so does it look down here.
Img 457: Evenings in Santiago can be charming too.
Sabato, 14 de junio 2003
Hola again! I finally managed to leave Mendoza for a last
northwards, throught the province San Juan (pics below or here).
Even thought the first couple of days i had to notice that different
are used for biking than for wine-tasting, i started enjoying myself
with beautiful weather and only 2 out of 10 days with the wind from the
However, these two days were though, because there were little events,
bush-land and an endless road.
Img 361: Mental training: with about 10km/h against the wind -
and no end to see...
But after 4 days, the two parks i visited (Valle de la luna
talampaya) were well worth the effort. Only disadvantage: both parks
only to be visitid with guide, which implies unfortunatelly high costs
visiting in a group (which is not always fun...)
Img 376: After 4 days, finally the first hightlight: Parque
(Valle de la Luna).
Img 392: And already the next day parque national Talampaya.
After those two highlights (and an extra 200km north/south -
no road went straight west), my journey started to go south for the
time. It's true: the wind blows mainly from the north, so this part of
trip- to Uspallata, above Mendoza - was quite easy (even thouth it went
and down between 1000 and 2600m a couple of times).
Img 419: On the way back towards Mendoza (i.e. Uspallata) - the
morning out of the tent.
From Uspallata on, towards Chile, the weather was not always
nice as before. On the first uphill-day, whilst the pass over to Chile
still closed, i got to Puente del Inca (and all without trucks and
- remember, pass closed). The morning of the next day: snowstorm and
still closed. So, perfect weather for thermal bath. As there were no
arriving, i enjoyed the old hot springs underneath the natural
Img 433: On the way up the path towards Chile: Puente del Inca...
Img 435: ... and i even took a bath in the thermal pools underneath
But, surprise, during the afternoon, although it was still
the pass opened and i could cross over to chile. Up to the tunel at ca.
by bike, throught the tunel in a pickup-truck (just before the pass
again), down to the Customs in a road-cleaning truck, and finally
2km by bike on snow to the hotel Portillo, were i stay right now. I
to switch from bike to snowboard and enjoyed already a nice powder-day
thought the sun did not (yet) shine;-) We'll see what comes tomorrow!
anyway, in one or two days i'll have to drive down to santiago, to
my plane back home...
Cheers & see you soon!
Viernes, 30 de mayo 2003
So, after a couple of relax-days in Malargue i continued my
towards Mendoza, deciding to go for the old routa 40, along the
(pics below or here).
Unfortunately, the oilfield-access routes were better than the
route, so that the first day i promptly took the wrong route at a
and got some extra uphill and biking hours. Fortunatelly, i finally
some oilfield-workers which could inicate me the right way to go... The
was so far good, and the views imazing, during 3 days with the
to the left and some kind of pampa to the right.
Img 330: Shortly after Malargue, on the way to Mendoza.
Img 340: Heavy biking on those sandy roads, but with beautiful
It's now a little more than one week that i'm in Mendoza and
some life without bike. With some hostel-mates we're still working very
on tasting the wines of the region... dont know, if we'll make it
all of them, though ;-)
Besides, it's really nice to get some culture after 3 month
and there is a great choice of good music, theaters, ... around here.
a couple of days we're always postponing the check-out day in the
Img 345: Mendoza, good music and argentinan folklore.
Img 355: We concluded one week of argentinan wine-tasting in Menoza
with a real visit of a winery.
... we'll see, if i finally leave tomorrow for a last little
north of Mendoza and the Andes-crossing over to Santiago. So far, the
is nice and the temperatures would be perfect for bicycling!
Martes, 20 de mayo 2003
After a couple of days relaxing (and partying;-) in Bariloche
i started biking again along the very popular bike-route 'los 7 lagos'
to San Martin de los Andes. But due to the off-season, i was the
only cyclist on the way and had the beautiful campgrounds in the
National Park for me alone. Again, all the region reminded
my quite a lots of Switzerland (pics here).
Img 284: Beautiful camping spot along the 7 lagos.
From San Martin fruther north, i (after long reflexion),
to step over to Chile again - besides the fact, that it was raining
again pretty heavily one day (well, the pacific is damn close...),
a definitely worthwile decision. The two national parks along the
Argentinan-Chilenian border (Lanin & Villarica), with
volcanoes, 'strange' trees and a lots of 'remote' nature were very
beautiful (pics here
and pics here).
Img 290: The entrance into parque natinoal Lanin.
Img 298: Inbetween Cunco and Paso Pino Hachado, after a heavy uphil.
Img 300: Very cold mornings...brr...
Img 301: ...but above the mist, the view towards Chile from below
Paso Pino Hachado was very nice.
Img 310: From infront of my tent, a beautiful sunset, somewhere
Back in Argentina, over the 1850m hight Paso Pino Hachado,
a lonely part throught the pre-cordillera. Cool sceneries, very nice
'rural' people, and (apart the last day...) nice weather made it an
unforgettable experience! (pics here)
Inbetween the biking, i had also a rest-day for my back and
climbed volcano Tromen, just besides Chos Malal.
Img 318: View from the top of volcano Tromen (4114m)...
Img 320: ...and that's the volcano from below!
Img 323: The farm, where i could sleep one night, even got dinner!
Img 326: Going to sleep under the stars, and this next morning...
So, as you see, winter started here, and i wait here in
for nice weather to drive further to Mendoza (about 4 days of cycling).
If it continues like that, i might be able to do some snowboarding
or skiing here in the andes, we'll see!
Sabato, 03 de mayo de 2003
So, inbetween Coihaique and San Carlos de Bariloche, where
i am right now, i learned to know what the patagonian weather can be
than sunshine... On the chilenian side close to Puerto Aisen (300
raindays/year), my weatherluck was without chance:-( But this is
already nearly forgotten
with again good weather in one of Argentinas biggest tourist-towns,
could be located in the swiss alps, would there not be the contrast of
in the center and the slums only a 10 minutes walk away.
But as said, shortly after Coihaique, there was a lots of
and thus only some pics (as usual some below or all to get here).
Img 258: In between Coihaique and Futaleufu - there is some rain
However, there have anyway be some highlights, as the amazing
glaciar Ventisquero Colgante, located in the Queulat nationalpark. The
up to the viewpoint went through some kind of 'tropical' forest (called
jungle'), which indicated that the weather is seldomly good in this
Img 260: Parque national Queulat: it cleared up for the visit of
Glaciar Ventisquillo Colgante...
Img 261: ... but the next two days were bad and it was difficult
to enjoy the vegetation.
After 3 raindays, where one day (i just sat around a
the only variation in the weather was the passing of a thunderstorm
continuous rain, the weather got again better and i approachted the
border at Futaleufu on a very sunny day. Tip: The region seems to be
to come back in season for promising rafting!
Img 262: On the way up to the argentinian border (futaleufu) all
was nice and dry again.
After a 'bad road' day down to Trevelin (Argentina) i was
that absolutely no hostal in this 'touristic' town was open! Me being
in a camping mood at all, i sat again on my bike to go 30 km further to
to pass the night not exactly in a dream-hotel - but at least is was
Img 266: The landscape changed quite a bit in argentina (here close
But my mood and motivation got again better and the cycling
the argentinian national park 'Los Alerces' was very nice, with some
camping-spots. All the region reminded me a lots of back home (see pic.
Img 268: If the cow had a bell, one would think to be back home,
After 3 days i arrived finally in El Bolson, a very nice
place, specialised in natural and handmade food, arts, ... They brew a
- even thought expensive - local beer and there are some amazing
So exactly the right place to stay a couple of days and fill up with
energy. There was good company in the refugio patagonico, where i
and i got introduced to 'argentinian eating habits', like: lunch with a
cordero patagonico from 4 to 8pm, dinner with pizza at 1 am the next
and coffee and 'pan dulce' at 3!
Img 271: View from El Piltriquitron, above Bolson.
So, i went burning some of this new energy on a 2 days hike up
El Piltirquitron and some other peak just above El Bolson. Finally
just one day paved road to arrive in Bariloche, where, after nearly 2
of remote south-patagonia, i get gently used again to the 'classical'
atmosphere in the hostal...
Next to come: Ruta de los 7 lagos up to San Martin (and
further towards Mendoza).
Miercoles, 16 de avril de 2003
Again good weather, Moreno glaciar, Fitz Roy, 3 hours pushing
bike uphill through mud, 2 days waiting for the ship crossing over to
(with rain...), Tortel with 'pasarelas' and no roads, ca 700km of
and uncyclable gravel road, and now in Coihaique, a 40'000 people town
the short description of what happened the last three weeks on my side.
lets go one by one...
As said, i stayed a couple of days in El Calafate, including
days of 'active recuperation', 2x80km easy driving to the Moreno
Glaciar. Even thought the national park entrance fee of 20 pesos
is very expensive for what you get... a 30 km gravel road (with lots of
and thus dust), due to off-season all the camping facilities are closed
at least camping is still possible - and there were only 3 people on
camping with glacier view (!) ... i think it was worth the trip, at
with the perfect weather (see pics below or here
Img 220: Perito Moreno Glacier
The next thing was waiting for the ATM machines in town to
because i run gently out of money, and for the next 700km there would
bank around... 2 day's more of relaxing did not hurt. But finally i was
full of energy (and had money) for the drive up to El Chalten.
the weather was still good, but the road was a big mess (10km/h was
the big maximum without being shaken off the bike...) But i got some
with a gread camping spot at lago Viedma and perfect views of the
around El Chalten (seems to be 'not so normal'). Pics below or here.
Img 225: Camping at Lago Viedma, between El Calafate and El Chalten
Img 228: The approach to El Chalten - sunset with Fitz Roy and
A nice Youth Hostal 'Alberge Patagonia' with helpful owner and
restaurant and local brewery just beside waited in el Chalten. It took
a day to repair my bike-rack, which broke again, and to find out that
ship which should bring me over to Villa O'Higgins in Chile and goes
2 weeks would be "most probably the 7th, possibly already the 6th or
the 8th of april". This left me with (possibly) no extra-day to hike
mount fitz roy.
Img 232: Camping place besides the Carabinieros at Lago del Desierto
(North of El Chalten).
Img 234: From Lago del Desierto up to the border to Chile was hard
work (pushing), but the following downhill was worth it!
So i started quite directly the 'adventerous' border crossing
above or here)
with 40 km biking with great views, very expensive ship over lago del
(but it seems if you walk around it's one day, with a bicycle 2-3
a nigths camping besides the very nice carabineros argentinos, 2 1/2
pushing the bike through mud up a pass to the Argentinian-chilenian
border, a nice downhil to Lago O'Higgins (i would have prefered doing
luggage and my full-suspension bike, yeah!), and then the waiting for
the ship over to Villa O'Higgins. The ship arrived the 6th and the
told us that, in function of the weather, he would go back somewhere
midnight and seven in the morning - he would wake us (me, a canadian
and two french hikers) up, and let us put together the tent. Finally,
left at 18h30 in the evening (but at least as predicted on the 7th of
After one night in Villa O'Higgins and buying food for the
couple of days, i started the first part of the famous carretera
northward (Pics below or here).
With globally still very nice weather, it was a pleasure to visit the
'pueblo' Caleta Tortel, even thought that day i had very bad luck with
bike - all my spare inner tubes used and already repaired...
Img 242: Caleta Tortel: a little 'pueblo' all on 'pasarelas'.
One other thing: the road quality is very unpredictable. It
from 'very nice gravel road' with easy 20km/h to nearly uncyclable
from slight up-/downhill to very steep (i.e. pushing) within seconds.
quite heavy for the 'mind'...
Img 245: Carretera Austral towards Cochrane.
Img 253: Was nice, having some paved road for the approach to Coihaique
(98km of about 700)..
So it was nice to know that there would be some paved road for
last 100km to Coihaique (it will even continue for the next 100km
but surprise: once the pavement arrived, the first pass as well: from
up to 1120m - and this in the late afternoon, ouff! But i was again
with a nice camping-spot just behind the pass - and the downhill the
So, right now a relax-day in Coihaique, with internet,
eating, sleeping, eating, bike-service (i've bought new spare-inner
, again eating ... and planing the next part of carretera austral: up
then over to Argentina, Trevelin, Esquel, San Carlos de Bariloche,
i should get again some internet-access.
Cheers, and enjoy springtime (here, it's getting colder and
Viernes, 28 de marzo de 2003
Hola! Que tal? Here on this side of the atlantic quite a lot
happened (even though probably of minor 'global' importance compared to
what is going on the other side).
As you might remember (else, read below;-), i stayed in Puerto
Natales, waiting for better weather and doing a bike-cleaning and
Doing so, i remarked, that my rear rim was broken. This implied
a bus ride to Punta Arenas to get a the wheel fixed. By bus, we
passed very close to where i camped a couple of nights before,
even thought this time there was a big snow storm and a couple
of centimeters of snow lying around (seems that i was lucky with
Img 188: Southern approach from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine
Even afterwards, the good weather came, so that i drove of to
Torres del Paine Nationalpark. For cyclists, there is an 'unofficial'
southern park-entrance, with a adventurous river-crossing - but
you avoid paying the park entrance fee + the approach is very nice,
in a remote valley, with good views uppon the torres-mountains.
Img 191: Nice weather whilst hiking towards the Valle Frances
In the park, i decided to leave my bike for a while and go for
the circuit-trekking. Out of 7 days, 6 were with good weather - which
seems to be very seldom. But, from the week before, there was still
a lots of mud left - and i somethimes wondered, if it's worth
bathing 7 days in the mud just to see some mountains quite similar
to what we have back home...But globally, i think it was still
worth the effort, and i got to knew a couple of nice people.
Img 205: ... and finally, los torres (sorry, but you have to turn
For more pic's of the trip into the park and the trek, go here!
So, two days ago i crossed finally the argentinian border.
Argentina greeted me first with some rain and then two days of clouds
dry) and 'good' wind-conditions, i.e. from the back. This was the
reason i drove up to El Calafate in only two days (instead of
three or four), where i arrived yesterday, very tired after a
200km day... and after 10 days of pasta or rice with tuna or
the 'bife argentino' with salad passed perfectly yesterday night!
Next on the program are some days of relax here, including a
visit to the Moreno glacier. Hope the weather will stay as it is today
- about 15C, sun, nearly no wind... too bad i'm so tired and don't
really feel like cycling...
But anyway, i'll get some sun outside - don't want to pass all
the day in front of the computer...
Cheers & greets, Thomas
Ps. Would be nice to get some news from you as well ;-)
Domingo, 16 de marzo de 2003
After nearly one week without civilisation, i'm now in Puerto
which is the gateway to the Torres del Paine Nationalpark and has a
including quite fast internet-café's (even though the net gets
and more expensive).
Though, a little more than a week ago, i landed in Punta
a 150000 peoples town in the south of Chile.
Img 160: Punta Arenas
After a first excursion on my bicycle (but without luggage) to
Pinguine colony at Seno Otway i knew what the weather and roads might
in Patagonia: the people from the hostal, where i camped in the
said that it would clear up in the afternoon - in fact, the rain just
heavier - and the dirt-road leading to the pinguins was more like a
than a road. At least, i had not to pay the entrance fee to see the
- the guard just meant: 'tu eres loco, pasa' ;-)
Img 165: Magellanes Pinguins at Seno Otway
So, after this 'rainy' experience and the following
i decided to wait in Punta Arenas for better weather and plan a little
for the first real trip with luggage. On thuesday, i took then the
Porvenir (2hrs), with Dolphins jumping around the boat, and started
along the coast of Tierra del Fuego towards the other ferry at 'tres
Img 185: The itinerary for the first biking week: Porvenir, Pali Aike,
Img 170: Starting in Porvenir, cycling along the cost of Tierra del
After about an hour, the frist 'bike-problem'. My lowrider
- some araldit and tape helped to fix that - and it still holds. With a
stop in the mittle of nowhere, i got to the National Park 'Pali Aike',
the Guard let me sleep in the Hut and even cooked for me - all for free
this is the advantage of travelling off-season, i think. The very
consists of some extinct volcanoes to visit and a historical cave. From
Pali Aike to Puerto Natales, not much to tell. A lots of pampa, wind,
sun, animals, a friendly field-worker, who let me sleep in his hut
thought it was less impermeable than would have been my tent: result,
sleeping bag got wet and i did not sleep a lots. But again, the guy
a good stew and insisted, that i wont use my food i carried along.
a good spanish-practice (pretty hard, this chilenian spanish...)
Img 179: ... and further through the pampa, with winds of approx.
often from the front
So finally i've - tired, but quite happy - arrived here
puerto natales. Again i'm waiting for better weather to continue up
into Torres del Paine. Anyway, one or two days of rest won't hurt my
and my 'ass' (i miss my full suspension bike;-) So far for now. By the
there are some more pics of this first week (mostly pampa ;-) here.
Miercoles, 5 de marso de
Hola! As you can see, i also
well my last week here in equador. I checked out some classical tourist
close to quito. Moreover, it was carneval, here, which means to get
a couple of times per day...fortunatelly, i got at least only pure
no eggs or foam like some of my friends;-)
Img 135: Pig's on the way to the Otavalo market.
Last weekend, i spent in Otavalo
here), a small town about 2 hours (spectacular) busride norht of
Upon arrival on friday afternoon, i was wondering, what one could
do in such a small town. However, saturday morning every street is
with the market and it was really hard, not to buy anything...
Img 143: Otavalo market: Woman work hard as well.
On sunday, i visited a volcanic
- well, for a swiss it's just a mountain lake... but the scenery was
Img 144: Surrounding of Otavalo.
Img 152: The Laguna Cuicocha;volcalic origin.
Finally, the last two day's i
mountains and went down to about 1000m above see level, into a so
here). Mindo, a little town, lies within this tropical forest and
paradise for bird watching. Unfortunatelly, the climate in this season
not nearly as nice as it is in quito - i finally know, why this time of
the year is calles rain-season...
Img 157: Cloud forest close to Mindo.
Well, so far for the news!
those will get a little bit more rare whilst i'll travel by bicycle
the far south, away from big cities... Anyway, i'll try to keep you up
date as soon as possible about an other part of this great continent.
Jueves, 27 de febrero de
Buonas Dias! ¿Que
Nearly one week has now passed since i have finished my spanish
classes. The three weeks of school were good and we managed
to see nearly all the gramar, so that i should now just
start using my
spanish - which is not so easy here in Quito. In particular,
i'm back at the Centro del Mundo hostal, where english dominates (but
the hostal is cheaper than the family).
I really started to enjoy myself
here in equador the last couple of day's. First, me and Kees (the
dutch climbing friend) went finally for an acclimatisation hike to
Img 89: Kees on the way up to Iliniza Norte
Against the indications from
club and climbing shop, where i got my equipment from, there
was no snow (well, we found a spot just sufficient for a snowball;-)
The hike (with some 'nearly' climb in the last part) from 3900m
(up to there we got with Kees's 4WD car) up to the 5126m Iliniza norte)
was nice and interesting- even thought the weather was not that
great (fog, fog, fog...). However, we got some sun at the
top - just for a couple of seconds, but the view above the clouds
was great - even though there is no foto...it was just a couple of
Img 92: Iliniza Norte, 5126m at the top and in the clouds
Oh, just one 'warning' about
the climbing equipment rental. I got my boots and harnest from Moggley
climbing (it's also a tour operator). Of all the shop's i checked out,
this was the only one with realy good (and nearly new) boots for rent
and Morgan, the shopkeeper (a swedish guy married with an
woman), is cool! Here the warning: I was supposed to go to a birthday
party that night, but once i got back from Iliniza and brought the
back (even without having a shower and food before, to be on time),
Morgan proposed a little 'glenfiddich'. All ended three hours and a
magnum bottle later with me getting a 'moggley climbing' T-shirt and
the possibility to shower in the shop - so that i won't miss my friends
birthday party completely...
Last thuesday and wednesday
then for the first 'real' volcano climb, the Cotopaxi (pics
here ). It's supposed to be the highest active
volcano in the world with 5897m (thought some sources say this
is not true).
We got up to the refugio at 4800m on thuesday afternoon by 4WD,
equiped with climbing gear and ski's, because we heard that there could
be some skiing possibilities. Kees and his family are
for a couple of years, so they brought all their equipement and i could
use the climbing equipment and ski's of Kee's wife (thanks
Img 103: On the approach to the refugio of Cotopaxi.
The refugio is very nice and
water available (even for the toilets!), cooking possibility and
gardians. Only negative point: 15 dollars the night. Where the night
means the evening, because you get up at 12 for the climb.
So we started to hike up, ski's on our backpack, at 1 and got
no problems (just breathing hard!) up to the top just before the
yeah! As the sun got up we had some great scenery and
it started also to get warmer.
Img 112: On the top of Cotopaxi, just before the sunrise...
Img 113: ...and here the sunrise
Img 114: The view into the crater
On the way down, we had some
glacier scenery (there are a couple of realy big crevasses to
get through). A
couple of times we could put on our ski's and the snowconditions
good! My only problem was skiing quit steep, crevassed terrain
in hiking boots... so i got my ski's of and crampon's
on quite a lot's of time to get through the crevasses. But
anyway, for a skiing/snowboarding addicted, it was worth carrying up
some additional kilo's (my ´touring´ ski's were a nice
but heavy Voelkl P9!)
Img 127: On the way down on one of the 'unskiable' parts of Cotopaxi...
Img 131: ...and on a skiable part (Yeah!)
Img 128: Some glacier scenery on the way down.
Back at the refugio, both of us
quite tired...and just in the right mood for a cool
thought this was more expensive than in switzerland) in the
heading back to quito, were we arrived at 3 in the afternoon.
I plan now to stay one more week
in equador and visit otavalo and maybe some cloudforest. The 7th of
march, i'll then head south (flight to Punta Arenas, Chile), where i
plan to start my cycling holiday's.
To be continued...
So then, have a nice time! Hope
to get some new's from you too. Cheer's.
Martes, 18 de febrero de 2003
Another week has past for me in Quito. Last friday, we had a
up to the Virgin of Quito. This is a statue on ‘el Panecillo’, a hill
Quito’s old town. The statue itself is not very nice, but there are
good view’s upon Quito (Images
Img 64 : Quito, view from el Panecillo (virgen)
Img 69 : Quito, the virgen statue on Panecillo
Img 71: Class photo of Beraca spanish school.
saturday, I was shopping with my family on
one of Quito’s biggest
markets. Very good atmosphere there! (images
here). Else, I have been doing a trekking with ‘Club andinismo’ of
the Catholics University in Quito. It figured out to be a very easy
hike in a
13 people-group – so not exactly what I like…but at least I has some
to practice my spanish.
Img 73 : Quito, southern market.
there was too much snow (i.e. because most people were not equipped for
snow), we did not climb Illiniza Norte, as
but just hiked besides this volcano, mostly cross-country over a couple of hills (Images
Img 77 : Hard work, this cross-country
Img 82: View south from the 4000m ´peak´close to the
to Quito, again a good view upon Cotopaxi. I plan to climbe this
next week, together with Kees, a Dutch guy I knew by the South America
Club. So I’ll keep you up to date as soon as possible.
Img 87: View of Cotopaxi from near Machachi.
week and cheers!
Lunes, 10 de febrero de 2003
It's now two weeks i've been in
Equador, and already one week of spanish-school behind me (though, i
yet start to write the reports in spanish ;-)
The start in quito, at hostal El
del mundo, was very good (thanks christian, for the tip!) It's a great
to meet people and for parying (3 times a week, 12 litres of free ron
coke help to get things moving ;-)
Besides classes, i've had some
to discover some parts of equador. Besides strolling through Quito (imgs here),
I've passed one weekend in Baños, a small turistic town, about a
hours busride south of Quito. On the way (imgs. 8,9), we
view onto Cotopaxi, the wolds highest active volcano and one which i'd
to climb in a couple of weeks. With two travel-friends, we biked
the amazonas and visited Devil's fall (imgs. here).
Img 29 :
view form Instituto Geografico Militar (IGM) upon town.
It's at the IGM, where the
topographical maps can be obtained (2 dollars). Moreover, it's located
a hill with great view upon the new town.
Img 31 :
view similar to the one above.
Img 9 :
way to banos - view upon cotopaxi
Banos is a little, nice town, the
to the oriente. Even thought it's very touristic, i liked it better
quito (well, seems that i'm not the city-type). We rented some bikes
were not in very good conditions, but well, for 4 dollars a day...)
the aim to bike to puyo (75 km, nearly all downhill).
Img 12 :
from Banos to Rio verde
Img 14 :
from Banos to Rio verde
One planed intermediate stop was
rio verde and the devil's fall. A quite impressing water fall.
this was also the end of our bike-trip, because a little further on a
had been destroyed due to heavy rainfalls, so that there have been no
between puyo and banos (for the planned way back). Thus, instead of
all the way to puyo, i decided to bike back (uphill :-( to banos.
Img 16 :
Img 18 :
bridge at Devil's fall
Img 19 :
bridge at Devil's fall
Img 24 :
the way to rio verde (by bike)
On sunday, an easy day was
After breakfast, a little hike up to the virgin statue above banos, and
some bath in the volcanic hotsprings. Finally back to quito, because of
mondays spanish classes. I'll probably have to come back to climbe
the volcano dominating banos...
But well for now, i.e. from this
on, i stay within family medina at 10 de agosto y roca and hope to
(or aquire) my spanish. The place is very nice and anita is a great
Img 26 :
Banos, on the way to the virgin (statue)
Img 27 :
upon Banos, from the virgin
Last weekend, I went with some
and girls i met at South American Explores Club (a really great
to hike the Pichinchas, the two volcanos (Guagua, still active and
just besides Quito (imgs here
We started early on saturday
with a busride to Lloa, a small town south-west of quito. For the one
drive, the price was 75 cents/person. Then, on a 4wd road it went 5
up to the refugio de guagua pichincha at 4550m. The refugio was very
but expensive (5 dollars/person), but at least there was unpurified
available. After some pasta and an attempt to get a fire burning in the
we diappeared very early in the (warm or not) sleepingbags.
Img 63 :
equatorian 1:50'000 map with our itinerary around the pichinchas
The region is really nice for
A lot's of cross-country is possible. It's fun, even tough the
maps are not as precise as swiss ones. In particular, they just forgot
put the rocks and cliffs on it...
Img 35 :
the way up from Lloa to the refuge of Guagua Pichincha
Img 36 :
plants around this region
Img 40 :
towards Quito on the way up to the refugio
Img 42 :
that was f... cold, at the refugio
The next day started, after the
with the hike up to guagua pichincha. The weather was getting better,
we decided to change the program and not to hike down to Lloa again,
to traverse over to Rucu Pichincha and then down to Quito directly. By
towards the very north of quito it was possible to hike around the very
parts just between quito and the pichinchas. The 8 hours hike was
great with a lots of crosscountry hiking and good views as well in
valleys as on quito.
Img 47 :
next day, mixed weather, some sun, some clouds, but we reached the
Img 50 :
the way down from Guagua Pichincha
Img 51 :
on the way towards Rucu Pichincha
Img 55 :
on the way up to Rucu
Img 58 :
towards Quito, form Rucu Pichincha
finally on the way down to the very north of Quito (unfortunately, the
way back to the center of Quito is far to dangerous...)