Watching Hummingbirds at the Mashpi Eco Lodge in Ecuador

Booted Rackettail

Purple-Crowned Fairies, Green-Crowned Wood Nymphs and Violet-Tailed Sylphs were fluttering all around me. Had I just landed in an elf forest? It most certainly felt like it. Surrounded by a towering wilderness of forested mountains with grey clouds closing in or receding just as suddenly, the area felt mystical enough to be one. Continue reading

Why the Galápagos Islands Are Worth a Visit (and how you can visit them)

Do you go on a cruise, or do you stay in a hotel and find your own way around? Do you need a bag of money, or is the Galápagos a destination for low-budget travelers as well? Let’s take a look what the islands have to offer, and to whom.

Tortoise, Galápagos Islands (©photocoen)

“Look there’s one. And there’s another!”

Words from the seat behind me made me sit up straight and look out of the window. All I saw were grazing cows. What were they talking about? Continue reading

Travel Memories – The Beauty of People

Workshop in Quito, Ecuador (©photocoen)In Quito, Ecuador, Coen and I camped in a car workshop for a couple of weeks. We were surrounded by broken vehicles and mechanics whose overalls were black from grease and dirt, and the noise of a blaring radio. This was not the first time we were camping in a workshop; we had done so before during our then ten-year overland journey in Asia and South America.

You get used to many things when traveling for a longer period of time, but each time I am flabbergasted by the hospitality of people and the confidence they have in us. Continue reading

Geocaching In Ecuador – Another Way of Slow Travel

Geocaching in the Netherlands (@Barbara-Ellen Vis)

Grandpa and grandkids found the treasure!

It is just one of these perfect days. The sky is blue, the sunrays are pleasantly warm. The heat is gone, the air is fresh and cool. Like one of those beautiful Indian Summer days. We decide to go geocaching and walk to Quito’s Parque Metropolitano. Most hills are covered with forest and soon I am following in Coen’s footsteps on a narrow trail winding among Eucalyptus trees. Around us people are hiking, mountain biking and even hugging trees. The energy is strong, people are happy, enjoying themselves. Continue reading

A Butterfly in Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest

Butterfly, Amazon Ecuador (photocoen)

“Happiness is like a butterfly. If you chase it and chase it directly, it will elude you, but if you sit quietly and busy yourself with other things, it will come and light upon your shoulder.” ~Old Chinese Proverb

What’s so special about a butterfly, you may ask. Well, I got a visit from one who cleaned my keyboard. Seriously. Continue reading

What Makes a Sunset so Special? – The Mashpi Eco Lodge

Sunset at Mashpi Eco Lodge, Ecuador (©photocoen) “You know what would be a great idea?” Coen asked as we moved up the last steps of the stairs that brought us to a 30-meter-high watchtower.
“What?” David, our guide, asked.
“To serve champagne upstairs. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic surprise?”
David didn’t respond and we continued our way up. Continue reading

Slow Travel – Does it Really Matter Where You Are?

Slow travel – Camping in a workshop in Quito, Ecuador (©photocoen)It’s weird, it’s funny, it’s incredible. We’ve been camping here for close to four weeks and I’m still somewhat in awe of us being here: in a workshop.

We had planned, for as much as we do, to stay a week in Quito, Ecuador’s capital. That should be long enough for our to-do list: new glasses, new business cards and decals for the Land Cruiser, getting our shoes fixed, and there were some items on Land Cruiser’s to-do list as well. Oh, and we wanted to do some sightseeing of course.

The Land Cruiser Needs Maintenance

Here’s the thing about traveling vs. living somewhere. When you live somewhere, you have addresses, contacts. You know where (not) to go. When traveling, this is hardly ever the case. Finding a place to buy new glasses, get your shoe fixed, go to the hairdresser are all time-consuming actions because you need time to shop around. It’s one of my least favorite things I do. Continue reading