A Mountain Full of Magic by @robinski_

There is a country in the middle of the world called Ecuador, and there is a volcano in the middle of Ecuador, called Chimborazo.

Northwest of Riobamba, the Chimborazo rises. The majestic, imposing and eternal watchtower of the Universe. Covered with perpetual snow. It always shines at sunset and glows with the moonlight.

With a height of 6263.47 meters above sea level, it’s the furthest point from the center of the earth and the closest to the sun.This extinct volcano, has two shelters on its way to attempting summit. The first at 4850 m. and the second one at 5000 m. If you pass the second shelter, there is a magic lagoon in the middle of the glaciers called “Cóndor Cocha” at 5100m., which means “Condor Lagoon”. If you don’t know your way around this place and you don’t want to get lost, the safest way to get up there is with a local guide.

At the foot of this volcano you’ll be able to see some vicuñas and andean foxes. And at night, you may be lucky enough to appreciate the most beautiful starry skies you’ll ever get to see. If you love stargazing, this is the place for you. Having the Milky Way stretched out across the sky, while enjoying the stillness of the night and the freezing winds hitting your face, is a feeling like no other.

There are many legends about the Chimborazo, so I’ll tell you one of my favorites:

“The Children of Father Chimborazo” is an original legend of the central highlands of Ecuador. Among the indigenous and mestizo population of this area, there is a belief that the Chimborazo, commonly fecundates women who fall asleep at foot of the volcano, or urinate within its territory; and at the moment of giving birth, babies are born albinos: white skin, golden hair and ivory bones.

The story says that a long time ago, Mother Tungurahua -a volcano believed to be female- reproached her husband – the Chimborazo- for not giving her children as white as him. She was full of anger and as a way of revenge, she would spit on his face the ash and mud that boiled inside her belly.

To avoid the rebukes of Mother Tungurahua, the legend tells that he let a beautiful shepherdess pass by his downhills in pursuit of one of her lost sheep, there she found a beautiful white-skinned bean, lovingly picked it up and kept it between her waist and her womb.

It is said that from that moment on, the beautiful girl’s belly became bigger every day, month after month; until after nine moons she gave birth to a beautiful baby with white skin and golden hair, like an Apu -a mountain spirit- and very similar looking to Father Chimborazo. The baby became his firstborn.

Because of this legend, the population in the region calls the children born with these physical characteristics “The Children of the Hill or the Mountain”. Since then, it is believed that the albino babies are children of the Chimborazo.

 

 

Galapagos Islands in a few words.

When we arrived, I apologyzed. Couldn’t find the right words to describe the place nor my feelings about it. Back home, I must confess that the whole week I have been trying, looking up for new words on the dictionary, watching over and over pictures and videos of the trip – which has been counterproductive because with each image I am left speechless again. So I have decided to write only the few thoughts that coherently I can articulate, and let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

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Galapagos is not a place, is a time space. You arrive by plane or ship from continental Ecuador, but seems like you’ve traveled in a time machine to a parallel universe. To a place where for some reason time doesn’t goes by at the same pace. Or perhaps hours and days go by, but not years? I am thinking that maybe in Lewis Carroll’s world or at a Kubric’s movie some of this makes sense.

Nirvana,  that stage of complete bliss and enlightenment, that some religions have as the ultimate state to achieve, is the word that comes to mind. I felt like that, as if every cell of my body was full of oxygen and nutrients. As if everything was perfect, lacking nothing. Felt like a millionaire of life.

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Galapago’s animals seem like Saint Francis of Assisi trained them. They don’t fear humans or vice versa. Sharks and penguins swim close, with the confidence that gives them the fact of have never been harmed. Sea lions take naps on the pier or on boats, while black iguanas lay back in the sun careless. Once in a while, a stingray flies out a bit just to get noticed.

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Nature looks intact, unchanged from what it probably looked like for thousand of years.

 

Humans that inhabit there (very limited numbers) seem to be fully aware of their blessings and take good care of the islands. Visitors understand it very soon  too.Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

In case you have plans to go, here is a list of hotels and restaurants that I love:

Best Hotels

www.finchbayhotel.com

www.angermeyer-waterfront-inn.com

www.pikaialodge.com

http://www.royalpalmgalapagos.com

Best eats:

La Garrapata: Restaurant and bar

Il Giardino: Restaurant and Gelateria

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Angermeyer Cafe:  The food is delicious, cocktails are great too; but the view is priceless. Great place to watch the sunset.

I’m Galapagos’s obsessed now. Since I left, I only want to go back.

 

Some Place Remote – for your Bucket List.

The term “remote” is relative to one’s location, but remote also means “isolated”. Considering that most of us live in urban areas overwhelmed by noise and traffic, I think is important for a change  to  experience some place “isolated” this coming 2016.

With that in mind, I have made a list of the 10 best places that can offer you a life changing experience –or at least some peace and quiet time.

1.Iceland: because it’s the land of Fire and Ice, of Aurora Borealis, the Blue Lagoon and so much more.

2.Palau: Famous among divers, but plenty to do also if you  aren’t one. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/palau/travel-tips-and-articles/exploring-palau-what-to-do-when-youre-not-diving#ixzz3vdenksn0

3. Galapagos Island and Amazonian Jungle, Ecuador: You might think I am bias on this one, but it’s hard to compete with a country that offers two life changing experiences in such a short distance between one and the other.

@bucketlistec

4. Madagascar: One word, BAOBABS –if you read The Little Prince you’ll know– and that is just the beginning of it.

5. St. Helena Island: Right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – the island where Napoleon was exiled and died – will finally have an operating airport on 2016.

6. Montana, USA: Yes, its possible to feel peace and quiet in a country inhabited by 300 million people.

7. Perito Moreno and Ushuaia, Argentina: The beauty of this glacier and town will leave you speechless.

 

8. Bhutan and Nepal: Both offer the experience of a lifetime, and its better to visit them before they become flooded by hotel chains and tourists.

9. Svalbard, Norway: One of Europe’s last great wildernesses, an inhabited by more polar bears than people, it’s a wonderful place to explore and hike.

10.Exumas, Bahamas:  Bahamas doesn’t sound like a secluded, remote place, but Exumas is.  You will enjoy raw nature and unspoiled beaches at it’s best. No casinos, no buffet lines, just white sand and turquoise water.

 

 

tomo hostel

Where? Victor Manuel Rendon 212. Guayaquil, Ecuador

What? Nice place to stay

Its a little oasis in downtown Guayaquil. Managed by it’s owners, who keep the service impecable.

Has several kinds of rooms, private suites and shared suites. All of them decorated with books -which is the theme of the hostel- many of the walls covered with quotes of famous novels, and also shelves with books waiting to be picked up by a tourist.

The best part is the terrace, all decorated in reds and whites, perfect spot to spend an afternoon.

They offer breakfast and internet service.