esmeralda life

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Living in: Nevada City, United States
  • Day52

    Banos-waterfalls,rain and smiles

    September 13 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We had decided to take small roads to Banos, the adventure capital of equador. And small they where, perched into the cliff of the canyon just the size of our truck . It takes a while to negotiate a passing spot when another car comes along .
    Ecuador makes you a happy spender. Fill up the tank of our truck and its 30$ . We had a splurging day in Banos , lunch at the expensive swiss bistro ,then thermal bath . After that we stopped at a wonderful german owned finca for kaffee und kuchen and dinner in the evening . overnight was free in their parkinglot and all together we spent just about 60 $ (yes ecuador uses US dollars ) .
    And while it rained all night and on and off during the day , we enjoyed the waterfall hikes and the young people doing mountain biking ,zip lines and swings .
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  • Day49

    Vulcano Cotopaxi

    September 10 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    From the national park materials , its described as the highest active vulcano in the world. At 5897 meters the Cotopaxi has a permanent snow cover . As for access to this ecuadorian national park , its a bumpy cobble stone road and i turned on the 4wheel drive to better get through the deep holes in the road . But after rattling along for 20 km we reached this beautiful spot at the lodge tambopaxi, where we spend the night.
    In the morning , we sat down for breakfast ( for the first time on our trip we camped with breakfast included), and the alarm went on and evacuation protocol when the vulcano errupts was initiated. We all got a little bag with water bottle and breathing mask, then piled into their trucks and rattled downhill to the escuela/evacuation center. It was a drill but all the park employees took it very seriously.
    After we got back we hiked up to the refugio, the basecamp for climbing to the top. That was enough for us ,we felt acomplished to have reached almost 16000 feet and climbed down again to get out of the brutal ,ice cold wind.
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  • Day48

    From summer into winter

    September 9 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Today we crossed the equator at "Mitad del mundo " in Ecuador. This little monument is where the northern and southern hemisphere connects .And with crossing the equator we are moving from summer into winter. While camping at a beautiful lake on 3700 meters, we prepared ourselves with some "Gluehwein" , the hot mold wine thats typical for the german winter season where we grew up.
    We had crossed into Ecuador a few days ago early in the morning. Based on other travellers reports it could take 6 to 8 hours to get the paperwork done, but while we saw many venezuelen immigrants camping at the border we got us and the truck across with little delay.
    While we enjoyed meeting other overlanders at a campground owned by a german, we escape into the mountains for nature, silence and hiking.
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  • Day41

    Zona Cafetera Colombia

    September 2 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After soaking in some local hot springs it was time for an educational session. We went to Hacienda Guayabal and had a coffee tour. We learned lots, from planting, growing, harvesting, drying and exporting the coffee. Colombia is the third largest coffee exporter in the world, growing arabica beans exclusively. We got an opportunity to contribute to the year round harvest.
    After tasting plenty coffee we headed off to Valle de Cocora. Here you feel like you have just entered Switzerland with the bizarre addition of Wax Palms. These palm trees grow up to 60 meters and are the largest palms in the world.
    We took a beautiful hike through the forest to Finca Montaña and then to the House of Hummingbirds. We crossed a raging river many times on shaking hanging bridges and passed through a stunning, sense cloud forest.
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  • Day39

    Crossing the Cordillieres

    August 31 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Back in the 1980’s, when Colombian riders first appeared on the European professional cycling circuit, Colombian Pro, Lucho Herrera, mentioned that climbs like Alpe d’Huez were too short for Colombians. Yesterday we crossed the Alto de Letras, at 3800m the highest mountain pass road we have ever climbed .
    We marvelled about the many bicyclist, before we found out about this being the longest climb on earth in the bicycling community,more than 80km ,with temperatures of 97 at the Magdalena river to almost freezing on top of the pass.
    Driving in Colombia does take patience, 25 miles per hour average is a reason to celebrate , but usually there is a long lines of trucks laboring up or down the steep hills not much faster than walking speed. On our mountain range crossing from the Bogota to the Meddelin area ,we also visited a Saltmine ,which provided some interesting pictures.
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  • Day38

    Villa de Levya and surroundings

    August 30 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We pulled our thicker jackets out, now that we are in the higher Andes. Villa de Levya, a colonial town with a large plaza , is located above 2000 meters. In the nearby national park we visited today , we hiked up to 3600 meters ,and the wind was cold and strong.But the andean forest contains a little bit of everything... cacti, mushrooms, bamboo, pine ,huge colorful flowers and anything in between.Read more

  • Day35

    Barichara and Camino real

    August 27 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    One of the most beautiful colonial small towns ,Barichara. From there the old camino real connects to neighboring villages from the 16 and 17th century. We got a beautiful campsite at the finca of a dutch couple, Joep and Julia.

  • Day33

    Chicamocha Canyon and migrant caravans

    August 25 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 22 °C

    We are definitly in the mountains now , high above the grand canyon of Colombia. I have a sweater and a jacket on and the cool evening air is really refreshing. With a maximum depth of 2000 meters the Chicamocha Canyon is really the second largest in the world . We have a lovely overnight spot with a venezuelen family perched right at the edge after using our 4wheel drive to come up the narrow , washed out dirt road.
    We keep seeing venezuelen refugees hiking along the pass road of the road. At the same time a bicycle race is happening and groups of riders pedal next to the refugees , trucks, buses and cars. And we feel helpless and clueless how to help while driving by in our expensive truck camper.
    Our host tells us that poor people in venezuela make 2$ a month , and while i know that Chavez ,while he was alive, had done a lot for the poor it looks like they can't rely on the government any longer and they come here with nothing just a small pack.
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  • Day32

    some days suck!

    August 24 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 22 °C

    Our goal was to escape the Caribbean heat and make it to the Cordillieres mountains for cool nights and pleasant days. Today we made it all the way to Bucamaranga, where we had found a larger grocery store to shop for the next few days (if you eat more then local fruits or fried dulce rings, handed to you at every speedbump, its not easy to go shopping) . Since there is never any parking in colombian cities, i droped Susanne off and promised to drive cicles and pick her up again. But then i saw the sign for the underground parking (with big notices to observe height limits of 2.40 meters. Anyhow , i parked found my wife , we shopped happily . But on the way out i hit a fire sprinkler ( and yes we are right around 2.40m high) , which caused the whole garage to flood . We were stopped and asked to wait for security. hours passed , we met friendly people trying to help us , but the el jefe (the boss) didnt show. We had long difficult discussions in spanish without understanding a lot . one of the guys took his motorbike to the hardware store to get an estimate for the broken fire sprinkler. As it was getting dark we started to worry about finding our selected overlander suggested camping spot. At last they let us go with a hefty deposit and promise to return after the weekend . It was dark when we left ( against overlander #1 rule" never drive at night " ) . Plus it was a big city with an unimaginable kaos of traffic . Then it stared raining ,and our planned restaurant- camping turned out to not exist after several tries. So we drove further out of the city and finally found a restaurant , balneario with camping spots . They charged us double for 1. being the only guests 2. arriving after dark. 3. arriving in the rain . But we are so happy to pop the roof and make ourselves a simple dinner in our own four walls!Read more

  • Day30

    Finca Manantial - an english mens labor

    August 22 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    We are camping on the farm of an english men called Graham . He came here in 1973 and bought this beautiful property and started farming . We camp between goats, pigs, turkeys ,ducks and our next door neighbor is a huge colorful bird. The path next to the camper is the autobahn of the leafcutter ants . So nice to be in nature again after all the city life!Read more

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