Tuesday, February 25, 2014


We arrived in Huanchaco  at noon,   it is a little seaside town and very popular with surfers, so lots of young people from around the world here. Found a Motel with camping in the back, there were two campers from France, Monique and Pierre's daughter lives in North  Vancouver. Thy started their journey in Uruguay and are headed north. Did some laundry and shopping then went for a walk along the beach and who should we see parked right on the promenade? Manfred and Monika.
Turns out when we lost them their cooling fan belt had broken, lucky it was right next to a mechanical shop but it took 2 hours to repair. So now thy are parked next to us again. Also met Victor and Elvira from Ontario, thy are staying in the Motel here, and today thy took us to the local market and Elvira cooked us a very nice fish soup, and after lunch we took the chicken bus  in to Trujillo, what a ride. Trujillo has a very nice historical part of town and Victor and Elvira took us to see the sights. Norbert did get a part for the Blue Wonder just in case.

Trujillo to LaPampa
Visited the museum and ruins of Huacas de Moche. One of the best museums so fat. The ruins were very interesting as we had a very knowledgeable guide
We arrived in La Pampa ( 10 shacks along the road) and met Mari and Bernard from France in a huge home built camper on a mercedes truck, built like a fort. The 3 of us spent the nite in an empty lot and had a good nite. We all got bitten by no seeums or some kind of bug, Bernard Monika and Norbert have at least 50 bites on their legs. I wore long sleeves and pants and socks so I only got bitten on my hands.
This morning we started out at intervals, as it is a gravel road and no one wants to eat dust. We drove along the Rio Santa and through Canion De Pato. The cliffs and sheer granite walls are humbling and aw inspiring.   
Here you can see the force of nature. We drove through 38 tunnels of various lengths and one single lane all the way. I find it scary to enter a pitch black tunnel of single lane not knowing if at the same time a truck enters at the other end. The only warning is that you honk your horn before entering.
Half way through the tunnels we had a flat rear tire but that was fixed in 20 minutes. We did have to buy a new tire and lucky that in Caraz one store had the tire we needed. We are now in Huaraz in a public parking
Lot were we will spent the nite.
Hugs to all
Norbert and Greti
Our new friends Victor and Elvira

Pierre and Monique fron France

Two families asking questions about our travels.

Makes you feel very small indeed.

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Here at least I can see that the tunnel in clear.

Hopefully no opposite traffic

the Blue Wonder is small.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feb. 18

February 18.
We left Cajamarca at 8:30 and our plan was to drive inland to Huaraz. 
Very shortly after leaving town we lost Manfred and Monica. We waited a while and figured thy decided to visit some of the archeological sites so we drove on.
There was lots of road repair and some closures, talking to some men who work for a Canadian mining company we were advised not to take the inland route asthe road is in very bad shape and if you break down it is a very long time before help arrives. So we decided to play it safe and head for Trujillo.
Along the way Norbert had the front end of the van greased wile we had lunsh.
About 2 hours later we felt a vibration and Norbert figured it had to do with the driveshaft. We still had to climb up to14,000 feet and needless to say that we were both very tense as there is no shoulder to pull off and we were in dense fog. Norbert concentrated on the driveshaft and I on intense prayer. We made it to Otuzco and are now at a gas station with a mechanical shop. Sure enough, the universal joint was gone. As we could not get the correct replacement part the mechanic fixed ours with used parts he had around. The Blue Wonder is as good as new. We are now 12 km. north of Trujillo called Huanchaco. At motel and camping Gardens with two french campers. Will do some cleaning laundry and shopping before we head south. Have not headr from Monika and Manfred since we lost them shortly after Cajamarca. Hope to meet up with them again.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti. 
I wish Norbert could see the drop off from my point of view.


Ceasar fixing the Universal joint

ready to go again

Feb. 17

February 17
From Chachapoyas we drove to Leimebamba were we spent the nite parked in the town square, a bit noisy. Next day we drove to Celedin a distance of 150 km. and it took us 8 hours. The route is over 3 mountain passes and is one single lane, tons of hairpin turns. I could not believe that there was two way traffic. To top it off there were signs saying " slow traffic keep right." A few times we had to back up. Then a truck with passengers passed us and he went like the devil, so Norbert stuck to his tail and we felt quite safe and made good progress. Along the way he stopped to pick up passengers and motioned for us to pass but Norbert told him he liked to follow him as his horn was a lot louder than ours and his bumper bigger and stronger. There were a few times were opposite traffic had to back up quite a way, but it was all done with smiles and jokes and without complaining. Wile looking for a parking spot in Celedin, the police escorted us to a parkero but the entrance was too low so we got an escort to another one were we did fit. So far the police here in Peru and for that matter in all the south american countries we have passed so far have been great and very helpful and always have a big smile for us. In Leimebamba the police were in a meeting and when I asked the young officer were to park, the whole detachment came out to guide us to a parking spot. We hope our good luck with police will continue. We are now in Cajamarca, again at a parkero right in the centre of  the historical town and within walking distance of everything. Today we did get propane, (we were out for the last 4 days) so now we can make our morning coffee, for the last 4 days Monica made our coffee and also boiled our eggs. There are lots of Propane stations but none had the fitting we needed. Also got the Peruvian SOAT insurance for one month at $15.00.
We are hesitating to go to the coast as it is nice and cool here in the mountains.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti

It is a pass

He had to back up quite a way.

Going to market

after a 15 minute shower the roads turn in to rivers

do not ask about the smell

Knife and scissor sharpener

Sunday, February 16, 2014

We drove from Cuenca to Valle Dolid and from there to the border crossing Ecuador/Peru.
The drive over the mountains was hairy, as there was a lot of landslides and also road construction. Too bad that there are no advisories or warnings, all of a sudden you are in a lineup or axle deep in mud.  There were a few times where I held my breath, but Norbert did not have to get the chains out. We had to wash the Van before crossing the border as we were warned that we could not cross with a muddy car. We got our exit visa in 5 minutes, returned the car papers and were in Peru. Norbert helped the custom officer do the computer work, was done in 30 min.
Then we did our visa and nobody looked if the car had mud on it. It seems that border crossing from here on will be easier. Well we got though the border with a clean Van and were assured that in Peru the  road is paved.  It was paved for about 15 km. then back to construction and wash outs and the Blue Wonder is full of mud again. 
If Colombia was very friendly, Ecuador a little less, Peru even less. When asking for directions we get strange looks and have to ask a few time before getting an answer. The villages are poorer and have no churches or very poor churches. We see a lot of emaciated dogs and poorly treated animals.  Today Feb. 15th. We visited the ruins of Kuelap. Thy are only rivalled by  Matchu Pitchu and some dear say thy are better. Thy were very mice and the drive up was again spectacular and in places hairy. Met young ladies from Germany, England, USA and Belgium, thy are working here for 6 months helping to set up internet for tourism and teaching english and German.  The guide did not speak english so Norbert had to translate in to german and english. Local women do knit and spin wool, I went over and talked to some knitting ladies, and showed then my knitting, thy fell in love with my round needle and wanted to buy it from me. I ended up gifting them to one of them and the wool to the other.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti 

PS. Thank you all for the birthday wishes, finally WiFi.
 Sorry no current pictures very slow internet.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feb. 10

Today we drove up to the volcano Chimborazo, it is very seldom clear but we got lucky and it was clear for 10 minutes and as we drove up it was covered in clouds Chimborazu is the highest mountain in Ecuador at 6310 meters. The Blue Wonder made it up to 15,890 feet without wings.
Norbert was fine but I had to move slow and berating was laboured.  We had to go down after 30 min. and it took all afternoon for my hearing to return to normal.
We saw lots of Vicunas as thy are a protected species.  Buying the ticket to enter the park we met another Canadian from Montreal, we were both surprised to meet.
We are now in Riobamba and will travel to Alausi where we take the train to Nariz del Diablo. ( devils nose). 
Arrived in Alausi just in time for a political parade and as it was sunday all the indigenous people come down from the mountains to market, what a colourful scene. We took the train up to Nariz del Diablo and the scenery was well worth wile the trip and also the museum. At the museum there is a plaque thanking Canada for the contribution, it turns out that Canada donated a coffee machine to the restaurant, so now thy sell cappuccino, lattes and so forth and are earning money for the upkeep.the guide even thanked me profusely. Again we slept in a secure parking lot which is run by a very nice lady. Today we drove to cuenca and on the way visited Inca ruins and had a nice tour. From there we went on to Cuenca. As we were looking for parking in the historical centre, a gentleman purposefully strode over to us, he had seen our canadian flag, his name is Robyn and hails from Alberta now living in Ecuador, he invited us to his place which is a 5 minute walk from the centre, we are parked in front of his place and there is a security man patrolling the street 24/7. We surprised his wife  Tamara But she was very gracious and served us tee and fresh baked cookies. Went for a walk in town and found Wunderbar, a german restaurant were we had schnitzel with spaetzle and sauerkraut plus good beer. One never knows what the day will bring. Today Robyn showed us around town, it is so nice to see places outside of the tourist section and get to know the real Ecuador. Cuenca is a city of perfect mix of historical and modern and as it is a university town a lot of cultural places to see. One needs to spend more time here.
A big thank you to Tamara and Robyn for your hospitality.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti.
Cotopaxi showing its glory for 10 minutes


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Welcome Parade?
Our host's Tamara and Robyn in Cuenca
This is the average height of the Ecuadorian, no wonder thy all llok at Norbert 

Hungry for Guinea pig?
Made itup without wings

Friday, February 7, 2014


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Some sections we had to krawl
Rural Ecuador

Will we make it?

Yes we did eat, she was so nice we could not pass her by, and did not get sick.

The power of water
We are still in Banos.
 Today we drove the route of the waterfalls, it is a stretch of 30 km. and there are 7 waterfalls and also thermal baths. Hiked down in to the valley and up to the top of the falls. The specialty of this area is trout so we had a very good lunch of barbecued trout. Some stretches of the road were very narrow and we had to pass under the fall. This afternoon the Volcano gave us a show and as we had clear sky's the spewing was impressive and I am glad that we will travel on tomorrow.
Hugs to all
Norbert and Greti.

Quito to Banos

Tungurahua Volcano

the dragon was watching our speed
We were able to climb up to the bell tower in the Basilica.

At this market you can find anything and if not you can have it made

We still had a nice day in Quito, first we went for the insurance, taxi ride $4.00 and Insurance for one month $ 3.56, what a deal. Did not take the Teleferico as it was raining and the mountaintop was in the clouds. Quito has the same as Mexico City that depending on the last digit of your license plate  you can not drive in the city from 7 am. until 9.30 am. and 4pm. to 6.30 pm. We still have not found a place to fill our Propane tank, so we are hoping to find one soon if not no coffee in the morning.
Drove to the Volcano Cocopaxi, the views were spectacular and surprising how high the potatoes are planted, also saw our first Lamas. We are now in Banos,took a hotel room as a shower is needed. We are at the foot of Tungurahua volcano and it is active, just as we drove up it let out a big belch and the whole valley is in a haze. hope it keeps quiet while we are here.
Hugs to all
Norbert and Greti

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Feb. 5

February 4

We had a nice rest day in Otavalo, visited the town and the market, mostly indigenous people. Very shy but will sneak a look at Norbert, he sticks out above all.
We stayed at the Hostal La Luna, did laundry and took a taxi in to town. In the afternoon we went to a crater lake at 9000 feet was quite cold.we tried to get the mandatory insurance for the Van but can only get it in Iberra or Quito, so we did not want to drive back to Iberra and will get it in Quito.  We crossed the Equator today at noon and our GPS. read N 00'000 W 78'10.30.1
. that will not happen too often. Had a nice drive to Quito but when we got close to town traffic is total chaos, hired a taxi to guide us to the hostal. When we got there it was full, so we stated looking for a spot for the camper.
One parking lot wanted $80.00 per nite, we are now parked for $20.00 per nite in the new part of town. Went to visit the historical sector, very impressive 7 churches within 4 blocks. I have seen a lot of churches in a lot of countries but the church here floored me. There is so much gold, it is obscene.  The craftsmanship is fantastic, two of the churches took 160 years to complete. Tomorrow we will take the Teleferico and visit some museums. But first we will try to get the Insurance.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti 
Sorry for the small pictures and no descriptions, I had to send it from my ipad and could not work it.

Painting outside church in Otavalo

Finally found a market wih frsh vegetavled.

Lago Mojanda
Our camping spot in Otavalo


Blue Wonder can not hide

Hostal La Luna
A delicacy in South America