Once again the Swedish vikings pack their bags and go west. Far far west. But this time they plan to do alot less pillaging and alot more culture exploring when they attend an ecuadorian wedding! Enjoy!
  • Day0

    Preparations

    July 6, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    So I just started the blog and getting myself familiarized using the interface and the app. Our last two travels to Thailand were documented through now retired TravelPod (RIP). Been checking out alternatives the last week and finally decided to give the penguin a go. I dont have very high demands but I do like to write and document using tablet in a diary-like fashion with text and pictures/movies. The kids love to look back at our previous adventures and by documenting it i make sure our invested time and money becomes lasting memories, I also prefer not being limited by internet access, sometimes you just need to write things down before you forget and the penguin seems to be working online and offline.

    Our preparations of the 2.5 week long adventure in Ecuador and Galapagos is presently underway. Wedding clothes are packed. The tablets are full of movies and films. Small gifts and presents to occupy the kids on the 18 hour flight are bough. We are up to date with our vaccines and our traveller's pharmacy is fully prepared. We also cleaned the entire house today to make my mother-in-law's stay here more enjoyable! :) Tomorrow we will do the finishing packing and weigh the bags to make sure they are below the limit. Soon we are ready to take off!
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  • Day1

    On our way

    July 9, 2018 in Sweden ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    And so the adventure begins!

    The alarm went off att 6am and by 6.40 we were all tucked in the car and on our way to the Airport. Everything went smoothly and we are now enjoying our breakfast outside the gate.

    The plane leaves for Amsterdam around 10 am where we board the big plane for Panama where we switch plane to reach our final destination: Quito, Ecuador.

    When the planes starts to descend for Amsterdam Viggo asks

    "When are we arriving at Liseberg?!"

    Not anytime soon, hun. :)
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  • Day1

    Transfer in Panama

    July 9, 2018 in Panama ⋅ 🌧 31 °C

    Made it to Panama with no trouble at all. Lokal time is around 6 pm but our internal clock is some time past midnight. Everyone is tired bit excited to get the last flight started. Viggo slept the last two hours on plane but before that he played happily with play-dough and plusplus and watched Dumbo twice.

    Not sure how the girls passed their time bit they sat behind me with Bengt and didnt tear anything apart so i assume they enjoyed themselves with movies, cartoons and games.

    Last flight, between Panama and Quito, was delayed almost an hour for technical reasons but finally we were off! Viggo fell asleep almost immediatly and had a frightening dream about crabs mid flight. His haunting screams must have terrified half the plane!

    After being awake for almost 24 hours we were greeted by Daniel and his family. They transported us to their home just outside Quito and we were all happily tucked into bed. We have finally arrived!
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  • Day2

    Centro del mundo

    July 10, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    After an excellent and well needed night's sleep we gathered around the breakfast table and had a wonderful time. Daniel's sister boiled eggs and made tea and we ate loads of toast. Not too empressed by the cheese but the hospitality was gold! Super friendly family that went all the way to make us feel so welcome!

    Today have we visited the ciudad mitad del Mundo, the point zero latitude at the equator. We saw a couple of exhibitions of Guayasamin, a famous ecuadorian painter. We also tasted chocolate and beer and did experiments. Apparently the gravity is less present on the equator so for instance ballancing an egg on a nail wasnt an impossibility.

    In the evening we decided to go into the center to visit the market and try some hot chocolate and South american specialities. In the meantime my mother took the kids to bed. Apparently Viggo manager to camouflage himself up against the white chalk painted wall so when my uncle went to check in him a while later he almost had a heart attack. The kid appeared to be missing! My mom luckily found hon before they called him in as a missing person and all things good.

    Now im behind in today's big adventure in the cloud forest but im just so exhausted it has to wait until tomorrow. Night night everyone!
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  • Day3

    Tambo Tanda

    July 11, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Today we experienced the ecuadorian wildlife at Tambo Tanda in the Tamboyata district. What you need to understand about moving around in the local highlands and mountain area is that while the roads are great and rather well kept they serpent around breath taking cliffs and steaps and the entire family arriving from the flat southern sweden had to take car sickness pills (with the exception of the 3yo) to endure the wild experience. Tilde, that is prone to car sickness also wore acupressure bracelets. These preparations made it possible to relocate and to take in the most breath taking views while doing it!

    Some of the mountains close to Quito have very little vegitation on and Cathy explained that it had to do with deforestation from the poorer population of Quito. Viggo was very upset to hear that but his spirit rose when we got some distance from Quito and entered the rainforest. Rainforest growing above a certain altitude is called cloud forest and we were going to take a closer look at the nature and wildlife above the clouds.

    Tambo Tanda is an area that is internationally praised for their rich wildlife and especially hummingbirds and other birds. We arrived to this cute lodge at the mountain side and even though we were a bit lower that Quito we were still almost a km above Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain top of Sweden. This was quite clear to us when we went to the first view point to get an amazing view over the rainforest. The air was damp and by just following the path through the forest we were panting from the lack of oxygene. The kids were doing alright and befriended all the dogs belonging to the guides. :)

    The next adventure was to go up the hillside in a small lift, across a creek on a small suspension bridge and into the forest. They told us people get here to do hikes and imagine it would be an awesome way to experience the nature first hand. By just following the trail we saw spiders, frogs and butterflies, some of which made this optical illusion when flying. Also the air was filled with the sounds of birds and insects.

    After a short walk of maybe half an hour we arrived at the first zipline stop! All kinds of emotions flew through me but mostly i was scared out of my pants. :) Allmost the entire group wanted to go, Tilde, almost 10years old, included. She changed her mind when she was about to be fasted to the zipline after we explained to her that to get back to the camp you had to follow through with the other ziplines after this one because there were no trail between them. I felt bad for her afterwards because she was quite disappointed in herselft for not following through.

    The worst part for me was the taking off, to throw yourself into the air and let go of the ground. After that it was the most thrilling experience and we went with the total of 4 such passes where some were over smaller creeks and one was a long, probably about 50 meters up in the air where you got to see the top of the rainforest and a waterfall far below. An amazing experience!

    Well back at the camp we were server freshly caught trout that had been grilled to perfection and was served with potatoes, rice and vegitables. Afterwards we were rewarded with a bath in a heated tub placed so you could experience the breath taking view of the mountains. They had placed hummingbird feeding stations next the the tub and while we were soaking our chocked muscles the birds kept zipping past us, making this high pitched excited sound.

    Such an amazing day! Highly recommend!
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  • Day4

    Vamos a la playa!

    July 12, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    Today was relocation day. The Serranos had rented a yellow school bus which took us to the west coast of Ecuador in about 7 hours. During the trip we got to experience the changes of the nature and climate. Ecuador has four different climate zones: the mountains, the coast, the rainforest and finally the islands. Before our journey has come to an end we will have experienced all of them.

    After aprox 4 hours on the bus we took a short stop. The kids couldnt believe how lucky they were to have chips and buiscits for lunch! I tasted and enjoyed a bag of chrisps containing a mixture of potatoes, banana and bacon! Not my ordinary lunch but ok!

    After almost 8 hours on the road we had ourselves a cooked meal at a restaurant at San Clemente, the fishing village we are staying in until sunday. The sun had already set when we checked into the hotel but we are looking forward to have some sightseeing around the neighbourhood tomorrow- we are staying almost on the beach and we can hear the sea from our window.
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  • Day5

    Whale spotting

    July 13, 2018, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Today we got up early and had the most exellent breakfast with home made scones, fresh fruit and scrambled eggs and ham, made and served by the owners of the hotel, Jim and his wife. Jim is a quirky little man from Tennessee and both him and his wife has been extraordinary kind to us. I must admit it feels nice to speak english to someone. I manage to get by with my school spanish but im not fooling anyone, that's for sure. 😀

    After breakfast we gathered on the beach and were split into two groups, we were going by two different boats. The sea was the same colour as grey clay with playful waves with white foam on top. Once out on open water it was hard to distinguish the whales from the moving waves but once you got a hang of it, i was the one spotting them on ceveral occacions. When they got up to breath they sprayed with the blowhole a cloud of mist whereas the waves were just white. We were told it was a family of 3 we were observing; a male, a female and their baby. The male jumped om several occacions. It was very exciting and i consider myself very lucky to being able to see hunch back wales (ord any whales, for that reason). The cost for 2-3 hours with a whale spotter boat was 15 dollar/person.

    In the evening we went to this cozy restaurant in the middle of Span Clemente main street. Aserca de caballeros ord something. We ate grilled chicken and had milkshake and it was exellent!
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  • Day6

    The Wedding!

    July 14, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    So came the big wedding day of my little sister, who is the reason we went all the way to Ecuador in the first place: she is marrying her Daniel from Quito.

    We had had a quite troublesome night with the kids and got off to a bad start but the breakfast made it all up. The lady had made the effort to make freshly squeezed orange juice, omelette with ham, spinach and mushroom and she served it in a home made bread with maize and chia seeds. For the kids she made pancakes with maple sirup. Viggo slept to 10 so we took turns at the table but boy was it good!

    After that we switched to the hotel where the wedding took place later in the evening. They had a pool, which made the kids so happy!

    Things concerning the wedding, like the time to meet up, get the hair done or how long a wedding ceremony would was expected to be was, what we called, "ecuadorian fluent". Meaning five minuters could be anything from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. We were suppposed to get our rooms at noon but they were ready att 1:30 pm. And the girls were flower girls and were supposed to get their hair fixed and their time changed from 2:30 to 4 and then it was delayed another 30 mins. No worries, i get it, it's hard to keep things exact and at a wedding people work in a very complex time schedule but still, i notice that cultural difference regarding time. 😊

    Anyway, everything went smoothly and with just 45 minutes delay the wedding started. The merging between the secularized Sweden and chatolic Ecuador, two continents united. The ceremony was beautifully executed on the beach and at the point where Daniel had a chosen bible verse read and Martina had a personally written poem read, the sun broke free of the clouds and painted the sky in a rosey pink sunset. It was all together lovely!

    After the ceremony the food was delivered very efficiently and i detected a trace of passion fruit through all courses. We heard less speaches than in a normal Swedish wedding but on the contrary everyone joined in the dance. Old and young, shy and exhibitionist all in one great mixture. Tilde turned out to be the dancing queen of the party and rarely sat down at all.

    I put the two younger to bed at 11, Freja was complaining over headache and pain in her eye and Viggo went unwilling but fell asleap as soon as his head hit the pillow anyway. The rest of us headed back home an hour later. The dancing area and the music equipment was just outside our main bedroom and im surprised we managed to sleep at all. But we did. A good ending of a wonderful day. I quote Tilde: "Ecuadorians know how to party, this was the best day of my life!"
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  • Day7

    Some down time

    July 15, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    The day after the wedding we had some well deserved rest. The wedding couple had payed for the entire hotel and we enjoyed some breakfast with the newly extended Serrano family and made use of the hotel pool. Tilde practiced her diving and Freja her floating skills. Viggo just splashed around with his floating devices. We stayed a couple of hours after we checked out and watched the world cup finals on a big screen the hotel staff put up.

    In the afternoon we went back to Jim and Emelia at Casa de Playa and hung out the rest of the day around our rooms and on the beach. The girls played cards and Viggo were hanging around his grandparents and me and Bengt had some time to just sit, relax and read. I heard that back in Sweden the heat wave continue and some of my friends are volonteering to stand watch over areas in danger of forest fires. Apparently you guys have around 35 degrees, we just have 25 and quite windy as we are located right on the beach.

    In the evening we went back to our grilled chicken place for dinner. A really lovely family: they decide for the evening what to grill which means the menue might change from night to night but the food is always fresh. And i have managed to do our order in spanish so they must be very well meaning 😁 This particular night the kids went for grilled chicken and i for the meat. Bengt had "choletas" which we learned afterwards was porkchops. Then we had milkshakes to go: chocolate, guanabana and pineapple. Sweet ending on a sweet day. Viggo fell asleep while i was helping him with his pyamas and Bengt followed him shortly after. Me and the girls layed awake and talked about dreams and about making a dream diary. At 10 pm we called it a night.
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  • Day8

    Guayaquil

    July 16, 2018 in Ecuador ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Today it was time to relocate to Guayaquil, where the airport taking us to Galapagos tomorrow is.

    We left by bus arranged by the Serranos and the trip took around 4.5 hours. I had made arrangements to bring sandwiches and soft drinks the evening before and we picked them up around noon and took them with us in the bus. We felt a bit sad to leave Jim and Emilia and Casa la Playa. This particular morning 3 families of fishermen worked for hours to gather their fishing nets on the beach we had played on the last couple of days. Jim told us they get to do that once a month and the catch supports around 300 people. No wonder they worked hard!

    We arrived on Hotel Continental in the 2 million city of Guayaquil around 6 pm. We decided to just rest for half an hour and after that try and navigate to a recommended restaurant. There are many more street venders and the traffic is horrible, im glad we only had to go through five crossings. At the restaurant Casa Res the kids were delighted they could have hamburgers and me and Bengt had meat and french fries. It was delicious, my only concern is that my medium well done steak was... not medium well done. I hope we dont get sick!
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