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Fiesta Grande in Salina de Guaranda, hunt for Volcan Chimborazo, Cuenca.

Flag Ecuador

Thursday, May 24 2012

7 years, 10 months, 2 days

Cuenca, Ecuador

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

Current Vehicle 47,138km

Boat 806km

Trekking 932km

Ferry 2,782km

Land Rover 73,588km

Other cars 188,727km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > south-america > ecuador > 20120524-cuenca

Salinas de Guaranda in the fog.

Map, Ecuador, Salinas de Guaranda, Chimborazo, Cuenca.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

Chimborazo in a misty distance. Men rides a horse in front.
Chimborazo in a misty distance.
Salinas, volleyball on main paza, Ecuador Andean highlands 3,600m.
Salinas, volleyball.
Riding to a fiesta. Riding to Salinas.
Riding to a fiesta.

Ok so, the boys and I leave Quito for a second time, Saturday 19th of May, set course for Chimborazo, but past Ambato all is rain and only on one short occasion we can make out the snow fields on the volcano's slopes. We get to Salinas de Guaranda on 3,600m, and the boys are hungry, clouds hang deep and the humidity gives it a creepy cold feel. It doesn't prevent the Andino enthusiasts from playing an exiting volleyball and football match on the main plaza, some with no shirt on, - and Chelsea in the meantime wins the Champion's League final elsewhere.

Cow milk arrives on llamas and donkeys from surrounding pastures, every morning for famous Salinas de Guaranda cheese producers, Ecuador.
Milk arrives on llamas.

Night is cold and we wake with a flat battery, and I don't know how to run an automatic down the slope in order to jump start it. But a guy who can charge it is found quickly and we spend another 3 hours in the Andean town that is famous for its cheese production. Llamas and donkeys are parked round town, milk is being delivered, also horses and sheep roam, it is a paradise for my boys.

Not aware of what's on in Salinas we leave, for Chimborazo again, but beyond 4,200m thick fog engulfs again; this venture doesn't make much sense. It was on our way up, that a traditionally dressed rider in poncho and llama fur pants rode down and he was not the first we saw, and I stopped in advance to take his photo, asked permission and we started a little conversation and he pointed out that he's riding to the fiesta grande, - in Salinas.

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Fiesta Grande of Bulls and Horses, Salinas de Guaranda.

Five riders in ponchos. The Ecuadorian Andean mountains.
In the Ecuadorian Andean mountains.

So we arrive back in Salinas and there is nothing on, and I buy some cheese tortillas to feed the boys and ask and it is 2kms away, and we take a few town's folk who are headed for the fiesta too, everybody's going, and on the way, escaping a drunk rider who comes towards us in full cantor, I put the right wheels of the van in the ditch near the road and only after reversing back and forward in the wet and spinning the wheels many times and get the mud flying I drive him out again and we arrive on what is a football field turned into mud.

With a Fanta I send my five year olds on their way, and I find them soon standing on the railing watching the show like old cowboys, I also get myself a large beer, one of many to come. This is a get together of indigenas, a peaceful drunk fiesta of riders, bulls and horses, a rodeo in the rain and fog, and the banda atop a construction site sinks our hearts and souls, ever deeper in a moody blues as the lights go out over the ground, and riders, beasts and my boys sink deeper into the mud.

Between the skies and the wet ground this is all about gaming, lassoing, not killing, unlike the last drunk bull-fiesta that my boys and I attended together (in Mexico). The cowboy skills here as there are on the drunken side, it takes not seconds but many minutes to catch el toro.

Indian man wears a cowboy hat. Fiesta and gathering in Salinas de Guaranda.
Cowboy hat.
Riders in red and black striped ponchos, Salinas de Guaranda, Ecuador.
Riders in ponchos.
Four ponchos, four hats, Indigenas fiesta of horses, Salinas de Guaranda, the Ecuadorian Andes.
Four ponchos.
My twin boys, right in the middle of horses fiesta, Salinas de Guaranda.
Right in the middle.
Poncho, lasso, horse, fog over Salinas rodeo ground, Horses and bulls fiesta. Ecuador, Andes.
Poncho, lasso, horse.
Red poncho and hat, white shal. Indigeno smiles.
Red poncho and hat, white shal.
Ponchos on horses in fog, Ecuadorian Andean mountains. Salinas de Guaranda.
Ponchos in fog.
One bull escaped, all spread out on a hunt to gather the bull. Salinas de Guaranda, Ecuador.
After the bull hunt.

Yes we stay late, till dark when all the drunks head home in their pick-up trucks and all is stuck because we all go the same way, and when we came 6 hours earlier we all let our cars drop like garbage, and my boys stink of horses and sh!t, are dirty all over and dirty the van and I bring beer in and toss it over, there's a big mess when we wake the next day. But such is a good fiesta.

Dealing with bulls, men in ponchos, Indigenas fiesta in Salinas, Ecuador.
Dealing with bulls.
On horsebacks, in ponchos, Indigenas horses and bulls fiesta, Salinas de Guaranda, Ecuador.
On horsebacks.
Men on horses and in ponchos gather in fog in Salinas, Ecuador.
Salinas gathering in fog.
Salinas fiesta of horses, Ecuador. Men in ponchos and hats on horses.
Salinas de Guaranda fiesta.
Rising competition, Salinas de Guaranda.
Riding competition.
Man on horse, black and white poncho and llama wool. Salinas de Guaranda.
Man on horse.
Lasso overhead, Salinas Ecuador.
Lasso overhead.
Lasso high, after the bull in foggy Salinas de Guaranda, on 3,600m, Ecuador.
Lasso high. Salinas de Guaranda.
Horses, dogs in the rain and the mud. Fog in Salinas, Ecuador.
Horses, dogs in the mud.
Boys watching Indian rodeo. Salinas, Ecuador.
Boys watching Indian rodeo.
Rodeo in Salinas, Ecuador.
Rodeo in Salinas.
My boys make friends.
Making friends.
Indigenas watch rodeo, Salinas, fietsa of horses, Ecuadorian Andes.
Indigenas watch rodeo.
La banda on top of building, Salinas rodeo.
La banda.
The rodeo ground in foggy Salinas on 3,600m, Ecuadorian Andean mountains..
The rodeo ground.
Iron face, watching the show. Salinas de Guaranda fiesta.
Watching the show.

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Back lucky to Chimborazo.

Llama, Ecuadorian Andes.
Up Chimborazo.
Will we be lucky?

Chimborazo, vulcanic bolders and sand.
Vulcanic bolders and sand.
Snow and fog, black volcanic sand and pebbles, this is Chimborazo.
4,850m of elevation.

On retrying Chimborazo Monday we drive all the way to the refugio on 4,850m and we cannot even find it first, there is snow and dense fog once more, it is simply too dark and I tell my boys to raise their arms, in order to up their spirits. But then, 15 minutes later while we wait for the tea to boil, sun's out, and the glaciers of Chimborazo surrounded by blue skies, for about 15 minutes, till the next front moves in.

Chimborazo open in blue skies, before the next wave of clouds.
Before the next wave of clouds.
Twin boys raise arms, Chimborazo glacier and blue skies.
Boys celebrate 4,850m.
Chimborazo refugio.
Chimborazo refugio.
Clouds move in again. Chimborazo.
Clouds move in again.

Between the clouds we also find a great many vicuñas, these wild South American camelids which live only high in the Andes.

Vicunas, Chimborazo proximity.
Vicunas, Chimborazo proximity. Related to llamas.

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Baños and Riobamba and south.

Banos, foggy, rainy.
Valley of Rio Chambo. Volcano next door is Tungurahua, all is black. Ecuador near Banos.
Valley of Rio Chambo.

Down in the valley we find Riobamba and find it's a mess, trash, potholes and traffic and we escape for Baños and the soothing, yellowish muddy thermal baths which we enjoy while it rains. Back the next day we take the dirt road that was closed due to mudslides, it leads through the mystic valley of Rio Chambo, the volcano next door left is Tungurahua, all is black pebbles and sand, the volcano of course behind clouds.

Riobamba then on the second try presents itself differently, in a different sunlight, and the boys get an ice cream on the plaza de armas and manage to eat it before it starts raining again, and that's basically it. We are headed south longing for warmth, lower altitudes and maybe a beach.

Market, Riobamba, Ecuador, Indigena woman selling loads of oranges..
Market, Riobamba.
Cathedral portal, Riobamba, Ecuador.

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Alausi and Nariz del Diablo and Ingapirca.

San Pedro de Alausi, old plaza.
Plaza, Alausi.
Bizzare and beautiful moth.
Beautiful moth.

But the road along the Ecuadorian Andes is still long, across many valleys and ravines up and down. Suddenly past a night in Alausi the skies are much clearer, and we head down a valley and see the tourist train on the other side enter the fog and what is called Nariz del Diablo while we take our time and a photo. When the veil of clouds moves it is such nice country here.

Nice view down the foggy valley, Nariz del Diablo.
Nice view.
Where the trains dip down into the Nariz del Diablo, near Alausi, Ecuador.
Nariz del Diablo.

We find Ingapirca and it gives a first though small impression of what Inca settlements look like, their expansion went all the way up into present Ecuador and southern Colombia, the late or final Inca civil wars between Atahualpa and his bother Huáscar took them all the way up here, already when the Spanish Christian tugs roamed the area really the Inca at the time should have had better to do than fight each other, and really I can't wait to get to Peru.

The Ecuadorian Andes, between Alausi and Cuenca.
The Ecuadorian Andes.
Ingapirca, Inka site, Ecuador.

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Cuenca and that was Ecuador.

Picturesque Cuenca is all blue skies and fireworks, Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca has an old cathedral and a new cathedral (the blue domes), we hang for two days in this most charming of the Ecuadorian cities. Wunderbar by the river, which is owned by German Frank (not Austrian, as the lp says), and my rambunctious boys receive the reception that 'I' need and as should be, wifi, safe playground, a garden, no traffic, not much to destroy but enough schnick-schnack to keep them busy like a table football, it is just not so easy all the time, here the personal is just what you want for children.

New cathedral, Cuenca, Ecuador.
New cathedral, Cuenca.
Sunlit housefront, Cuenca.
Around cathedral, Cuenca.
Around cathedral.
Cuenca, old decorated house, Ecuadorian flag outside.
Cuenca, under arcades.
Under arcades.
Old men and young boys. Cuenca main plaza.
Old men and young boys.
Cuenca Immaculate assumption cathedral. Ecuador.
Cuenca cathedral.
Manufactura of Panama hats in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Panama hats.
Shoe cleaners wait for clients in Cuenca under arcades. Ecuador.
Shoe shine.
Grafito, man and hat and 3D glasses in blue and red, Cuenca, Ecuador.
Cuenca grafito.
Manu Chao poster on wall in Cuenca.
Manu Chao.

Loja then is not worth it, and Daniel suffers from big diarrhea, maybe from ice cream in Cuenca, and this diarrhea will bother for many weeks in Peru, which we enter on 26th of May. > journey > south-america > ecuador > 20120524-cuenca

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