After an amazing time in Colombia where we travelled and changed locations quite a lot, it was time for some “relaxation” in Ecuador.
We crossed the border and took the bus to Laguna Yahuacocha close to the city of Ibarra in Ecuador’s North.
The plan was to not move locations for 9 days and do a Workaway close to Ibarra. Workaway.info is a web platform bringing travelling volunteers and job offerers together. The deal is working in exchange for food and accomodation, a great option for travellers in between busy hostel weeks.
We did our Workaway at Finca Sommerwind, a campsite owned by a German family that left home and moved to Ecuador 5 years ago.
They also have a cafe that opens on Sundays selling breakfast, German lunch and delicious German cakes. To start with, we had an amazing time with Patricia, Hans, Patricia’s daughter Jördis and their great five dogs on the beautiful campsite grounds!
The campsite is located close to the Panamericana, the road continuing all the way from Alaska to Patagonia. Therefore, many long-term campers from Europe, Latin America or North America pass by, stay for some days and tell their fascinating stories at the campfire which we had nearly every evening. It was very interesting to get this different insight into travelling Latin America after having met so many backpackers.
Our job at Finca Sommerwind was first of all helping with the cafe. This meant baking tons of German bread and cakes as well as preparing the lunch on Saturdays and selling/preparing the food on Sundays. On our first weekend, another German couple, Lena and Fritjof, were with us so the work (shared by four) went easy. On Sunday, Lena and I even skipped the cafe work and went for paiting the new cabaña (cabin) that will be rented out to guest in January. During the week, Chris and I continued by also painting the outside in the bright yellow that is typical for all the buildings at the Finca.
During the second weekend, Patricia, Chris and I were very busy in the cafe as there was a continuous flow of guests. Thanks to help by a Brazilian camper who helped with the dishes, we managed. I know now how hard the job of waiters and kitchen personal is and promised myself never to be impatient again when ordering something. I don’t know how many times I made bread, mixed cake ingredients, baked waffles, and especially did the dishes but it was a great experience which was very rewarding and a lot of fun. And very delicious as we could snack in between and eat the leftovers…
Next to the work, we also really had an amazing time in Yahuacocha. We felt completely at home at the campsite and enjoyed our own German bread and Patricia’s delicious homemade jam very much after all the sweetened bread they sell around here. The owners and guests at the campsite became good friends and we enjoyed the campfire evenings, two times also with “Stockbrot”.
On our days off, we did two excursions. First, we went to the indigenous handicraft market in Otavalo which was very nice (great but expensive souvenirs).
The second trip was to another Laguna, the Laguna Cuicocha (guinea pig), a beautiful vulcanic lake close by. We hiked around it which was quite difficult because the sun was very strong and the lagoon is on an altitude of 3400 meters. We could really feel that and Chris got altitude sickness later that day.
After an amazing time with Hans and Patricia (I hope we will see each other again), we took a bus to Quito where we needed to catch our flight to Guayaquil in the evening. We had some time left to do sightseeing, after dropping our bags at another German couple’s restaurant. Steffen and his wife are friends of Hans and Patricia and own a Sushi restaurant in Quito. Very bizarre but amazing that the best sushi I ever had was in Ecuador and had been prepared by Germans. In case you go to Quito, check out Sushi-In, it is definitely worth it.
After seeing some of the old town, we went to the airport, taking the flight to Guayaquil where we stayed one night in a hostel. Early in the morning, we went back to the airport, taking our flight to Baltra, Galapagos Islands……
This is where we are now. Pictures and a post will follow soon.