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The Avenue of Volcanoes
Beautiful Escape in Ecuador

Travel Inspiration World Tour
Les Globe-Trotters, February 27, 2010

"The Avenue of Volcanoes" lifeline of Ecuador since the Inca era, it runs along the Andes and aligns very many volcanoes over 4000 m, often wreathed in mist and eternal snow.


Fresh off into the night in Loja from Peru, we put our bags in the hosteria Izhcayluma near the village Vilcabamba. We left behind us horns pots Peruvian yellow yogurt (taxi, for short), barking dogs at 2am, roosters playing the alarm clock two hours later ... for the benefit of birdsong , the hike (we recommend the top of Mandango), juices galore, naps in hammocks comfy! A little haven of peace out of time: the happiness! Only a message taxes remind us that our French life is never far away.


Ecuadorian second step: Riobamba, our starting point for the Chimborazo volcano dormant for 1,400 years. Ptite cultural moment: the summit is both the culmination of Ecuador with its 6263m, but also (yes yes!) The most "high" summit of the world, if we take as reference the center of our Earth. It is, in fact, the farthest point of it then, somehow, the "high". This is also the point on the surface of the Earth, the minimum distance from the Sun during a year is the smallest. The reason is its location: the Earth has an ellipsoid shape, the radius would be 20 km larger at the equator than at the poles, and the Chimborazo is close to the equator, over the tops of Himalayas. The ascent is very technical, especially with the very bad weather conditions these days, we settled down in ATV flanks. Parties 5005m (highest point of our world tour !!) we joined Riobamba some 2,500 meters below. Beautiful sport experience in beautiful landscapes, which by its very chaotic side reminded us down the road of death in Bolivia .
L'avenue des volcans  Echappée belle en Equateur
Papillons de Mindo

Nariz del diablo

In 1899 the railway line between Quito & Guayaquil began to be built. But a rock wall almost perpendicular, nicknamed El Devils Nose (the Devil's Nose) has complicated the task. Many lives were lost in what so far is called a masterpiece of railway engineering: a zigzag carved out of the rock which allows the train, advancing and retracing, reaching an altitude required to reach the town of Alausi. The train finally reached Alausí in September 1902 and Riobamba in July 1905.


The kind of place where you find yourself ... stay and live from day to day. A real sweetness of life when our days are punctuated by mountain biking, rafting and rest (one feels that the 11 months of travel are starting to be felt!). The city of Baños, along the Ecuadorian forest, is dominated by the volcano Tungurahua - 5016m above sea level. Volcanologists recorded daily increasing activity of the volcano. The ash falls are almost permanent in areas close (we confirm!) And the sound of explosions was heard throughout the day. Weather conditions added to the risk of explosion has not helped us, unfortunately, to approach. And who says volcano, called "geothermal activity" and suddenly the presence of hot baths (42 ° C) and cold baths (12 ° C). Caliente un poquito, poquito a frio !! It seems that it's good ... So we clench my teeth, tightening the buttocks !!!!

The Middle of the World

The Middle of the World. Here we are. One foot in each hemisphere. This imaginary line around the Earth, halfway of its poles is present in San Antonio de Pichincha to the delight of ... us, where for once we played the 'good tourists'. But it does not work every day on the Equator!


Just two hours north of Quito. A large cattle market, very local, with real animals: calves, cows, ducks, piglets screaming to death, large pigs screaming to death, cats-dogs-of poules- and even the vendors all in the same enclosure, but also cuyes (guinea pig, yes !!) for a festive meal (6 US dollars per unit: a fortune!) ... in short, a spectacle colorful, noise and smells! A second market for the tourists this one. Here no less than 3000 craft stalls waiting barge. Usually they flee ... there, we take the opportunity to address some of our free mm2 turn back the bags already full monditses. It's nice to go shopping after a year of restriction: the smoke dollars! Oh FYI, since 2000 the US dollar is the official currency of the country. Our narrow escape in Ecuador, like our World Tour, will end with the meeting with superb butterflies of the little village of Mindo. Magical and beautiful. That happiness, as this very nice year world tour which ends !

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