A Little Update from Ecuador

Hello, there. Long time no see! ;-)

Puuh, the last few weeks have been quite eventful. As some of you might know, we spent over 3 weeks at the coast of Ecuador “workawaying” for a US American couple. We had some really great times there. Our work consisted of walking and feeding the dogs twice a day and doing some cleaning or repairing work around the house. Pretty easy! We had our own little bungalow right next to the pool and the ocean was only a 100 m walk away. Sounds like paradise, huh?

While being there we enjoyed getting to know many places that are famous for their biodiversity, so we saw a lot of different exotic animals, went hiking in rain forests and took advantage of being at the beach almost every day hitting the high waves. Then afterwards, the past two weeks were spent exploring the North of Ecuador and I must admit, the more I see of this country the more I like it. From the countries we have been to on this trip it is by far the one I feel most comfortable in and also the landscapes are so diverse it just takes my breath away sometimes. We were very fortunate to have a friend here in Quito that showed us around and provided us with sooo much helpful information about his country. A big shout out to Max! Who also let us stay at his house and have his car when he didn’t need it.

Although we really had the best time here in Ecuador, it is a small country so we were ready to leave to Colombia this morning. Our route half-determined for the next 4 weeks – and also the last 4 weeks of our South America trip :-( – we made our way to the bus terminal. As clumsy as I am, sometimes, I stepped into a road gully that was missing an iron bar and hurt the shin and ankle of my left foot. Thank God, everything is fine and there are no fractures! But walking is still impossible and probably will be for the next few days.

Bummer! This morning I was getting so excited about Colombia as I did some more research on the places we wanted to visit and now this?! I guess in life you sometimes receive signs that force you to calm down and take things on an easier note. I start understanding it more and more now, but the first few hours after the accident I was horrified about its possible outcomes. What if something is fractured? Will I have to go home? Thoughts like these are the worst. But only reflecting back on today it makes everything clearer in my head. Often we get caught up in so many different things so that we forget about the principal aspects in our life. Especially when traveling South America I started to feel a little bit of pressure. Of course I wanted to visit as many places as I could and have unique experiences. And as we’re in the last weeks now, I want to see as much as possible in this short period of time despite of getting tired a little bit of it already. So sometimes I forget about why I really travel. It is not the pictures or the stories I can brag with, neither the bucket list that I need to be complete in my head. It is about getting to know myself and a different part of the world better. Because good things are going to happen to us anyway at any place we visit. And you never know what life has is store for you, so you’re just left there to trust in that. And that’s what I’ll do for now.

Over the last few weeks I’ve also had so many different ideas to write about but couldn’t find a lot of motivation to actually type down my thoughts. But maybe I needed this little pause to get back on track and work more on the blog and be more enthusiastic about it. Now is definitely the perfect moment, because I will have a lot of spare time on my hands. So get ready for some blog post overload! ;-)

There will always be bad things happening. Everyday! But how they influence our present and the future depends on us. I am still not 100% positive about what happened earlier today but there are definitely not only bad sides about it. And eventually I will be able to visit Colombia, just maybe not as intensive as I wanted to but who knows what that is good for? It will all make sense afterwards, that’s what Lars uses to say all the time.

So I hope all of you’ve had a great start to your week! Thanks for reading my little rant. :-)

XX

Ella

PS: The picture was taken yesterday when both of my legs were still fine. I was standing on both hemispheres at the same time at Mitad del Mundo, latitude 0.

We are all earthlings

Hey!

Another funny but also insightful story from Samaipata:

During our time there we met an interesting person from Germany. She was a transgender that has been living in Bolivia for a year and a bit now. She didn’t really have an easy time there. Learning Spanish is not her strength I guess, and immigration’s have been harder than expected. But proud she told us that the energy from El Fuerte would help her out and that’s why she stayed here. Probably also because there are so many travelers all the time. :-)

One thing that she said made me think about a specific topic from a completely different side: I have always had this opinion that being respectful and understandable is a necessity when going to another country, especially when the country was poorer than mine. That it was crucial to adjust to what the locals expect from you. Indeed, this makes all travels easier in any case.

What this woman said however, is in some way also true. Read More »

Soaking up the energy of El Fuerte

Hello there!

Remember when I told you about the energetic place that attracted loads of expats to stay in the village of Samaipata? Of course we couldn’t skip these ruins. So a sunny and really hot Sunday morning we made our way to the historic place. It is a 10 km walk or taxi ride from the center of the village. As we had plenty of time on us we walked there, rewarded by the amazing views along the way.Read More »

Are you a tourist or a traveler?

You probably don’t even have to get out of your home town to meet most of the different kinds of travelers. There are selfie-tourists, the extremely culture-savvy tourists, the “hippies”, the luxury travelers, the nature adventurers. And a lot more. Especially Peru being a big destination for all kinds of people – rich and not so rich – we met a whole bunch of different people, some only spending a week escaping from their busy routines at home and others who are in their third (!) year of traveling the Americas. I think getting to know every single person inspired me and boyfriend so much and meeting new people, like-minded or not, is one of the best parts of traveling.

After all I noticed some conflicts or rather differences of opinion between the groups of travelers. Somehow, each group is looking down on the others in some form.Read More »

Sharing a ride with a 40-something truck driver

When we made our way to Cuevas we stopped a truck by the street that would take us with him to the nature reserve a few kilometers down the road. (Yep, it is like hitchhiking, but they will usually expect some money!) He was really interested in us and asked questions about where we were from, how much money we need for our travels, how much things cost in Europe, what the weather was like, and so on.

He also told us a lot about himself – he drove a truck from Potosí to Santa Cruz and back. It would take him a few days. His wife was back home in Potosí and had a small kiosk, she had to take care of. He said it was not possible for them to live off just of his salary, so she had to find something to do for her. He said people in Bolivia wouldn’t earn a lot of money, only those that went to school and would now sit in an office.Read More »

How to: Build a house 101

In Samaipata we were able to help out a Spanish family. I already talked about them before. They had two small but beautiful houses, one they lived in and the other one they were renting out. But their plans are much bigger. They want to build another, bigger house where they wanted to move into and then live off the rent of the other two and eventually from that money travel a little bit in South America. So we were happy to help. At the moment they are working on a small garden hut for their tools and to provide their volunteers a sleeping space upstairs. We helped to render that from the inside and out.Read More »

Amboró National Park

Amboró National Park is a huge park that stretches in the middle of Bolivia. To enter it is required to always have a certified guide with you and that can get quite expensive. We were really lucky to go with the friends of our hosts who gathered a group to go on a Saturday. Amboró is very close to Samaipata and it is famous for its diversity because again it is a mix of jungle, mountain ranges and lowland. All these landscapes meet there which grants you amazing views!Read More »

No cuevas en Cuevas

Located around 30 km from the village of Samaipata there is a little town called Cuevas which means “caves” in Spanish. Having a little nature reserve with the three famous waterfalls it attracts a bunch of tourists and locals. And now I definitely know why. As Cuevas is on a lower sea level and getting into the jungle, the weather is much more humid and therefore all the kinds of plants and animals are similar to those in the jungle. We saw several species of butterflies and other insects. One kind that caught my eye was a light blue butterfly with big wings that was really common throughout the park. Next to one waterfall I even ran into a green snake, and in shock I jumped into the water haha. But when we tried to look for it again, it already had escaped into a whole. So I guess we were both similarly scared of each other.Read More »

One day in the biggest city of Bolivia

Most people might have not even heard of this place before, at least I haven’t before even entering Bolivia – Santa Cruz de la Sierra. It is with over 1.5 million people the biggest city of Bolivia and located in the East right before entering the jungle on either side but the West. The name means Holy Cross of the Mountains which doesn’t really make sense to me because it’s more a selva-place (jungle). It is a surprisingly modern city, clearly influenced by nearby Argentina and Brazil, and also serves as industrial hot spot of Bolivia. We haven’t really thought about visiting it but as we arrived with the night bus at 7 am it gave us plenty of time to stroll around in the center and just enjoy a relaxing Sunday there before continuing our trip.Read More »