Pisac and the Medicinales

We were intrigued by the Day of the Dead weekend, even though there were no colourful parades or celebrations. On this designated November weekend, Peruvians take flowers and special shaped breads to loved ones who have passed on. Wanting to see for ourselves, we headed to one of the Christian cemeteries in Cusco.  I imagined a large grassy yard, with loaves of bread and flowers strewn over the graves. Wrong. Continue reading “Pisac and the Medicinales”

Return to Van Life – Canada to Peru

We are back in Vanna again. Although the rainy season will begin soon, it is sunny and warm today.

In May, when we arrived home in Manitoba we were reacquainted with the beauty and bounty. Long evenings, magnificent  sunsets, wide open spaces, orderly traffic, and plenty of wildlife. One evening a fox ran across our lawn, the deer wander freely, many types of birds and  hawks and the occasional bear sighting in the park.  No wonder that people think Canada is beautiful. Continue reading “Return to Van Life – Canada to Peru”

Peru – Time Out

Way back when we were planning this trip, we thought we would get to Argentina sometime this May. Well we won’t make it. But never mind. We have a new plan. We will get to Argentina eventually, but right now, we need a time out.

New plan. Store the van in Peru, go back to Canada for the summer and then resume our adventure in the fall. Our Canadian health care will expire if we do not return soon. And we need all those the fun things like dental cleaning, Colon check, and the ever enjoyable mammogram.

 Seeing family and friends will be stupendous. Continue reading “Peru – Time Out”

Ecuador to Peru – Lines in the Sand

Before we left Riobamba, we got a new windshield for Vanna. We had begun to dread each police stop, worried they would give us more hassle over the crack.  And then we paid $70 to a motorcycle cop who got the better of us with his fast talking performance. He phoned his boss to see if we could get a discount on the $100 fine. And apparently the boss said yes. So we actually saved $30. Haha. It is all such a game. But we speculated that the police in Peru might be the same or worse. Continue reading “Ecuador to Peru – Lines in the Sand”

Ecuador High

There are over 50 National Parks and protected areas in Ecuador. Combined with 40 plus active and inactive volcanoes, it is pure agony having to choose what to visit and what to pass up. The Andes run north south down the center of Ecuador and we knew we had to do some hiking in this region, also known as the Sierra. Continue reading “Ecuador High”

Ecuador and the Ruta del Sol

We desperately needed some sun. After 2 days of torrential rain everything was soaked. Raincoats were dripping, clothes were damp and shoes were soggy. The inside of the van had that dirty sock aroma. We turned Vanna toward the coast.

The Ruta del Sol runs along the west coast of Ecuador, from Esmeralda in the north, to the southern town of  Salina. One long stretch of rocky cliffs and soft sand beaches, secluded bays, fishing villages and touristy towns. Occasionally we would see a gated community with manicured yards and large beach houses, often accompanied by a billboard announcing lots for sale.

How much? Just $65000 US. Continue reading “Ecuador and the Ruta del Sol”

Ecuador and the Spectacled Bear

We have had our first week in Ecuador and we are loving it. There is a feeling of spaciousness and tranquility. The pace seems slower, yet things are organized and efficient.  And gas is  $1.85 US for a US gallon. It’s a nice combination.

On our way to Ecuador, the road from Mocoa to San Miguel was paved, with rough breaks now and then. It was not near as remote as we had believed it to be, with hamlets and farms all the way along. It turned out to be a beautiful five hour drive. Continue reading “Ecuador and the Spectacled Bear”

Colombia: Ibague to Mocoa

After encountering the road block on the Panamerican highway, we hung out around the city of Cali, hoping the road would open.  There was some information on the internet about the conflict, but nothing about when the issue might be resolved. The protesting Indigenous group wanted a meeting with President Duque. He wanted them to open the road before agreeing to a meeting. We asked everyone we met, but people would just shrug. Consequently, we had no idea when we would be allowed through. Continue reading “Colombia: Ibague to Mocoa”

Colombia: Quindio the Coffee Region

An Overlander recently advised us, “If you make one plan, you will end up with two plans, because plans always change”. 

We have realized that with Overlander travel, schedules don’t work. The van needs maintenance, the road is closed, documents take days to renew instead of the expected hour or so. And then there is another place just down the road that locals tell us we have to see. Our original plan put us in Peru in February. It’s now mid March and we are still in Colombia. Continue reading “Colombia: Quindio the Coffee Region”

Peru: Cusco and Machu Picchu

A major tourist destination, Cusco is chock full of museums, old architecture, and traditional customs. It is also the starting point for tours to amazing treks and many Inca ruins. Over the week, we had first-ever experiences like dealing with altitude sickness, holding a baby llama, eating alpaca steak, and waking up at 4 AM to the heart pumping sensation of an earthquake.

Basillica, Cusco, Peru

Continue reading “Peru: Cusco and Machu Picchu”