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Mirador Los Bancos

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Just a few minutes after Mindo is San Miguel Los Bancos. A breathtaking view over Rio Blanco. It is even less people there than Mindo so, If you are looking for a peaceful getaway Los Bancos is the place! We found this place first time we went to Mindo when we stopped to have lunch at the hotel. This time we booked a room for the night with a breathtaking view over Rio Blanco. The hotel also had a tree that you could walk out to it was called Mirador del Arbol.To get there I think the easiest way is to go by car of course, but if you cant there is a bus from north of Quito going from the busstation called Ofelia. It goes to Mindo for sure, there might also be a bus that goes straight to Los Bancos. But safest to take bus to Mindo and just a taxi from Mindo to Los Bancos.

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Some travel tips for Ecuador- Basics

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Ecuador is an amazing country! That will for sure take your breath away! I recommend going to Banos (Bus from Quitombe, south of Quito) for a weekend take the famous swing,see the awesome waterfalls by taking the Chiva truck, go out, and if you have time go to Puyo the Ecuadorian Amazon for a few days it’s amazing!!! If you have more money, go to Yasuni for 5 days and stay at a eco lodge!

When you have got more used to the altitude, go to Quilotoa where I really recommend to camp down the crater! The next day if the weather is clear, go to Cotopaxi and go to the shelter if you can! That is one of the highest active vulcano in the world! Be careful on the road to these places, don’t take overturns. It has been a lot of accidents on the way. You get there by car or they have tour buses you need to book.

On a Saturday or early another day. Take the bus from Carcelen Terminal to the Otavalo marked it is so colorful! Make sure to ask the bus driver where to get off!

If you have time Mindo is an awesome place to finish of. You get there easily by taking a bus from Ofelia in about 2 hours from Quito. Make sure you see the butterflies and try the chocolate at El Quelzal! The waterfalls are also worth seeing! Be careful taking the canopy here, it has been some accidents.

You can read my own stories from those places further down the blog.

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Now, more about the negative stuff!

Many people are aware that Ecuador is a developing country and that it is slightly different from the Western culture. Trust me, it is! It will probably take you a couple of months to get used to the culture here. Even though stuff happens in Ecuador, it is still other countries that are a lot scarier.

Something to be aware of is robbery, luckily it hasn’t happen to me before. But I have heard many stories, bad stories. For example, avoid texting and using your phone in public where there are many people. I have hears stories that people are so good at robbing here that they can drive passed you and grab your phone and drive away right in front of your hands. Don’t show to the public that you have money. I have also heard stories from my boyfriend who even are born here that some guys just stopped him while he was walking just to give him his phone, if not he will regret it. I have also heard people being robbed by breaking up the car and steal expensive parts. Also, if you forget your phone in the taxi, don’t always expect to get it back. Be a smart traveller. Don’t walk around with your expensive camera bag that its obvious what you have in it. People can open it and steal everything or even cut it, without you knowing it! When I walk around with my camera stuff I just put it in the bottom of my so called hippie bag I bought in Otavalo, no one can ever know what you have in it! Also a good trick if you are gonna walk around with some small expensive stuff in a crowd, put it in a empty take away cup and pretend you are drinking from it! No one will steal your trash?!

Be aware of what you eat! Get filtered water. Avoid pork as they are the main host of parasites. Be careful with meat in general, vegetables and fruit needs to be properly washed. Use antibac and be super careful with hygiene!


Weather!
It’s no such thing called accurate weather alert here. People back in Norway always as ” The weather must suck there? It says it rains everyday” No it doesn’t rain everyday.. But, just in case always bring a jumper and an umbrella because you never now about the weather here. They say its like a mood of a woman…

One thing to be aware of is where to go and where to not go and when… Connect yourself with some locals and get to know this things! For example. We live in Central Quito. People say that you should not walk around La Carolina park after dark! In fact, I avoid walking anywhere by myself after dark. Even so, anywhere I go by myself I always text my BF when I arrive.

In Quito there is one type of taxi you want to take and that one has a green number-sticker on the side. They usually have a panic button as well. I am not a big fan of taxis in general, but here in Quito it is some places that are really hard to get to, and taxis are really cheap. I always take taxis with someone else. I have heard stories or robbery and assaults on taxis here as well.

One problem I have had here is public transport. Quito has so many big bus stations that are far from central, and the buses from there go to different places. For example.. If you are going to Mindo or Mitad del Mundo you have to take a bus from Ofelia station. If you are going to Otavalo you have to take a bus from Carcelen Terminal, which is pretty much impossible to get to. If you are going to Banos you have to take a bus from Quitombe. And also it’s important to be there in a good time before it leaves, because when it’s full it’s full and no one waits for you if you haven’t bought the ticket in time.
Bus are very very cheap, especially in the city center it cost only 25 cents. A good thing is to always have coins on you, because people don’t like to get paid in notes in general, anywhere.
One website I have looked at for timetables to go places just outside the city is www.andestransit.com, however, don’t expect it to be 100% accurate. Other than that, there is no timetables what so ever.
There are the blue buses you can take in Quito, there is a Metro, Ecovia and Trole. All usually just costs 25 cents to go anywhere and the other than the blue busses are usually really full especially during rush hour.

And for f.. sake don’t talk against the president if you see him!

Thats all. Send me a message if you have questions!

Back to normal

After Jipp left it was time to go back to everyday life! The last couple of days I have spent my time at Dunamis. 10929943_728442850587533_1613736262626953677_n (1)

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That I have been taking photos for and preparing for the freedom climb to raise money for the girls and Dunamis.

Freedom Climb” is a running* competition developed by Dunamis Foundation.
We focus on supporting women and children/adolescents that are enslaved, oppressed, exploited and/or victims of trafficking.
Freedom Climb’s goal is to raise funds to our work and aware people about this theme.

*The fact of being a running competition doesn’t mean that you can’t do it by walking.

=INFORMATION=

PRIZES

We’ll have specific prizes (mini iPads and others) to the top 3 climbers whom will be divided into 3 different categories; and also a prize drawing to the other ones.

PLACE

We’ll climb part of one of the Casitagua’s mountain (Quito). Up there, there will be some snack and a short event.

PRICE

$20 (you’ll receive a t-shirt, water and some snack)

SUBSCRIBE BEFORE THE 10TH OF MAY! LIMITED VACANCIES.
E-mail: dunamis.ecu@gmail.com
Cel: 0939741323 (Rute Curvelo) (Quito)

We need your full name and t-shirt size!

Apart from that. Mauricio and I finally had some time alone on the weekend were we went to Pululahua and the middle of the world museum.

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Yesterday, Marcela turned 30 years YOUNG and we celebrated it on top of our apartment with a surprise with photos of all her friends with a personal text to here. How awesome is her boyfriend Sergio to come up with that idea. Crichu also made and yellow submarine cake that was INSANE!

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Not to forget. I said goodbye to the incredible Becky some days ago. She is going back to the States. We all went to a fantastic hidden Greek restaurant.

Quilotoa

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Now, the trip I have been waiting for! QUILOTOA! We had to get up at 5 am to get there in a good time. The ride took us 3 hours on a really scary road with a lot of fog, swings and crazy truck drivers doing turnovers in the fog. Along the road you can see small crosses where people have been killed of the traffic, that scared me.

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We finally got there and there it was. A very unique crater with water in it! I was so excited, we walked a little bit and just sat and stared at it for hours. _MG_9694

After a big lunch we were walking down to the water where we were gonna set up our camp. The walk down just took us 30 mins and was easy peasy, even though it was a lot of sand. We saw many people riding a donky upwards and we didn’t look forward to walk up there the next day, with all the luggage as well.

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We met an Ecuadorian from the coast that had already camped for a day and he was by himself now. We camped next to him with our big tent. Shortly after we got up we were looking for firewoods to the fire we were gonna have that night so we was not gonna freeze to death. I was not looking forward to the cold. Not to mention the “toilet” they had there was just a shit-hole in the ground. I was preferring to just pee in the bushes instead of peeing in that. You could see that people actually kinda missed the hole..

More and more people left the crater as it got darker. It was a bit nice actually, us and the wild. It didn’t get over to think that we were gonna camp in a crater! It just looked like we were gonna camp next to the lake in a wood when we were down there.

After some time, when it was only us there. A guy came and asked for direction up. His friend had left him there alone to go up without him, how rude? He was from the coast so he wasn’t used to the height either. We told him he could crash in our tent. He rather would go up and hopefully find his friends. We gave him some water and he started walking up by himself in the dark. We were all very worried for him.

It was incredible to sit around the tent with bunch of people and play guitar and play funny games in the dark. And of course I need to mention the stars! The moon was soo bright and I think I have never seen so many stars in my life!

I thought it was gonna be ten times colder than it was. However, it was better than I thought and I actually had 3 sweaters I didn’t have to use. Mauricio and I was so exhausted and were ready to sleep on a altitude of 3800 meters!

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The next morning we were gonna do kayaking in the crater, but the guys that worked there didn’t come before we started walking up. The walk up was hard of course, especially with my lungs. But we made it! And also just over 1 hour! I thought it will take at least 3 hours

Last day in Mindo

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This was also my third time at the butterflies sanctuary called Mariposarios. I actually saw some new ones that I didn’t see the last time. We also witnessed butterfly hutching.

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After an hour our taxi driver drove us to the waterfalls, Cascadas that you need to take a yellow escelator thing that goes probably 500 meters above the ground. It takes 2 minutes and then you choose to to the walk to the place with many waterfalls after each other or one big one. We did the one that I have done before the one with the many.
We later went back exhausted to Quito.

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Mindo

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This was my third time in Mindo, just over a month! It was Jipp first time! Mindo is just two hours from Quito.
We were gonna take a bus from Ofelia that was gonna go 9:20, but because of wrong information on a website they now said it will not go before 11. So, we had to wait almost two hour in the heat and the polluted bus station. After some time we finally got on the bus to Mindo. We arrived around 1pm and it was a bit late to do the waterfall trip and it already started raining, which is very common in the cloud forest. So, we went to see the orchids, which Ecuador has soo many species of it was incredible.
Jipp went to the chocolate tour in El Quelzal just near we stayed at Casa de Cecilia. I had already been on that fantastic tour so I went back to the hostel to rest. On that place they make raw chocolate from scratch and it taste amazing and real! I really recommend the brownie!

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Puyo the Ecuadorian Amazon

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The nesxt day we went to Puyo, just one and a half hour from Banos. Puyo is the beginning of the Ecuadorian Amazon. We went on a one day trip that we booked in Banos for just $25 at Perez tours just across the bus station in Banos. We were so excited. Never seen a proper jungle before! We first went to a zoo to see pumas, jaguar etc. I didn’t like it at all because those animals are suppose to be in the wild, not locked into a small area. They are suppose to hun in the wild!

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We continued on the road for maybe half an hour where it suddenly started raining, but stopped after just 5 minutes, typical tropical rain. We went to this community called Kotococha, who lived over the river so we had to cross a bridge. They let us taste some special soup and blow shoot on a statue. They only spoke their native tongue as well as Spanish. We saw snake skin hanging on the wall that to a snake they have killed. The young girls painted us with warrior paint in terms of our energy. I also bought some necklaces and jewelry of them.

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We got to go kayaking from their village on the river on the Amazon. It was an amazing feeling. Everything surrounded around you is green!

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Shortly after we went on the road again and stopped on the lookout. Because of my limited Spanish I didn’t pick up that we actually could take a crazy swing over the amazon, roughly 50 meters above ground, without security! I was not gonna do it, but then my friend Jipp suddenly jumped on, I kinda felt a bit coward if I didn’t do it! It was a crazy and unreal experience that I think I will probably not do again! For me, it was scarier than bungy jump.
Swing of life Swing of life
After lunch, we went for a two hour walk in the Amazon looking at different species of plants and insects and we also crushed a leaf toward our mouth which is good for asthma.

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Second day in Banos

Second day in Baños we got to see the waterfalls. We went with the chiva again and poor Sergio got wet because the chiva drove right next to a small waterfall. The further we went the more stunning the waterfall. The last one was breathtaking it was called Pailón del Diablo. I am glad I am not s scared of hights because the awesome stuff here in Ecuador usually involves hights.
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Mauricio and my friends Sergio and Marcela left Baños Sunday afternoon because they all need to work on Monday. Jipp and I decided to book a daytrip to the beginning of the Amazon to a place called Puyo. We have never been so excited. Both of us had never seen a real jungle.

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Tourist in own city

My friend Jipp came a few days to visit me in Ecuador. The last couple of days I have showed her the city where we have seen the Panecillo. Today we went to Mitad del Mundo which is right in the middle of the equator or (ecuador) in spanish.

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First blog post here in Ecuador

Before I start. I have to just mention the small journey to Ecuador! It took Mauricio quite a while to get the tickets to Norway (schengen) but he finally got it just after Christmas. It was fascinating to see how he loved the snow, which he hasn’t seen properly before. Just on top of Cotopaxi. He met my family and friends and everybody loved him of course!

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We also went a few days to Berlin, which none of us have been to, we loved it, but damn, it was cold there.

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I am sitting here watching over Quito, while I am writing. The view from our apartment its not to complain about. Everyday I see school children playing all day, the school is just a few minutes from our apartment. Here I am sitting watching over Quito city where people work hard and many of the people I see everyday could only dream about the life I have. We luckily got an apartment in a really nice area of the city.

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So, what exactly have I been doing here in Quito, Ecuador? I came here middle of January, the first months we stayed at his parents place in a place called Tumbaco, which is about 30 minutes down from Quito. Mauricio needed to get a job as soon as possible, because he had a scholarship to study in Australia, which also means he have to work in Ecuador for 3 years. I have been asking myself many times what am I going to do all those years? Work for the national news? I don’t think so… I would not be a part of any newsagency that is one sided and lack of freedom of speech, I also need to be fluent in Spanish. I am getting there, but still some to become fluent. Hopefully after 3 years I will.

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The months we have lived here I have embedded myself into a foundation called Dunamis. Dunamis works to help out young girls who have been victim of abuse and sexual trafficking. I have made a short documentary and also been taking photos of them, which they of course get a copy of. The other day I helped them to create their own photo album with scrapbooking. Continuing with that I hope to learn more about how sex trafficking is in Ecuador and how it is to be a young and unmarried woman here.

A few weeks ago I filmed and photographed for extreme response on their programs with the Quito dump. It was an extraordinary experience to meet families that work at the dump and some years ago used to live there in terrible conditions. It makes you see things in a perspective.

This photo is from a daycare center for the children of the families.

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