"Callie on Tour"


As most of you know, travelling is my favourite hobby. This blog will tell you about my exciting travels: great experiences, impressions and adventures that came across my travels. True memories - Enjoy :-) For fotos please go to www.privatepro.ch/callie

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Quito / Cotopaxi / Devil's Nose Train 07. - 15.11.06

Posted at 09:54, 9 November 2006 in South America

07. - 11.11.06 Quito
After Stefan left, I moved into a small hostal in the New Town, where I knew my way around. Unfortunately, the weather in Quito was cold and rainy. As I had already seen most of the city's highlights, I enjoyed sleeping in, reading and sitting in cafe's. Dawn and Stuart joined me until they left, and then I organized my further excursions.
In the travel agency I met an Austrian girl (Immi), and we will be spending the next days together.
On Saturday, we started off to climb the Rucu Pinchicha, Quitos "house volcano" with 4'680m. There is a brandnew cable car that brought us up from Quitos 2'850m to 4'100m. From there, we started hiking - unfortunately in the thickest fog. And it got even worse, it started raining, and close to the top we even had snow. Nevertheless we made it  - at least to what we think was the top :-) And hey, after the Inktrail, this is the highest mountain I have ever walked up to!!!
On the way down then the fog lighted up a little, and we were lucky to get a short look down to see the city of Quito, which is almost 10 times longer than wide. And Quito is the 2nd highest capital in the world (after La Paz).

12. - 13.11.06 Cotopaxi National Park
As a change it was sunny in Quito when we departed. But I learned that in Latin America a 2h drive can take 4h... and until we arrived in the National Park, it was raining and due to the thick fog we could not see the Cotopaxi vulcano. Nevertheless, after a very bumpy drive on a riverbed-dirtroad, we reached the parking at 4'500m. From there it was up to our feet to get us to the refugio at 4'800m. Pfff... I was again breathing hard ;-)

We spent the rest of the day freezing at 0 degrees celcius, eating soup and playing cards. The highlight was to see the lights of Quito at night in the very far distance.

 

At 2am in the morning, Immi and two other guys then started their climb to the top (5'800m) - wow, was I glad to be able to stay in my warm sleeping bag!!!

But at 6am then the sun came out - and so I got up and followed the other's footsteps up to ca. 5'300m, as there the great glacier-formations can be seen. I have never been on this altitude in my life, quite an achievement ;-) And the view was spectacular, down pass the snow to the black-yellow vulcanic flats, and in the very far I could even make out Quito. And upwards to the top of Cotopaxi. Wonderful!

But the clouds were waiting around the corner... and at 9am thick fog and snow again blocked any view.

Immi and the guys came back from the top, happy to have made it, but totally exhausted (some even had to throw-up) - so I really wonder what makes them do this...

 

Another rough and bumpy drive back, and a short busride then brought us to Riobamba, where we enjoyed a warm shower and a long nights sleep in a comfortable hostal.

14. - 15.11.06 Riobamba / Devil's Nose Train
Riobamba... not worth a visit when it rains all day. They do not even have a "normal" restaurant, so we ended up taking a cab to KFC!!!

 

But the adventurous trainride to "El Nariz del Diablo" (the Devil's Nose, which is a mountain) was worthwile. We started at 7am, sitting on the roof like everyone else. The train is famous for its special zig-zag way to get down the steep mountain.

Normally, this (touristy) trainride takes 6h. But due to major problems (fallen tree on the tracks, missing or flooded tracks and several derailings!) we travelled for 10h!!!!! Autsch, my back really hurt from sitting on that roof for so long. Luckily the scenic ride was worth the pain ;-)

However, it was really scary to sit on the roof and watch down into the valley, knowing that train can derail again...

That evening I then also travelled back to Quito - another 5 1/2 h sitting on a bus... So I was happy to fall into bed at 2am.

The 16.11.06 was the day for laundry, Internet, last-minute shopping etc. and then in the evening I left Ecuador. The 17th of November I arrived in Buenos Aires, where I met up with my friend Priska - we thought we will meet in the hotel in Ushuaia :-) We did not know that we are on the same flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Coincidences in life!



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