Gangtey valley, Bhutan
I open an eye. Twilight outside. Dawn is slowly giving changing the pitch black outside into a grayish. Getting lighter by the minute.
It’s early morning. My eyes are still adjusting after waking up. But the sounds outside reveal, we are at the country side. Forest close by.
I slept very well on the mattress on the floor in a farmhouse in the Phunaka valley. There is already some activity outside. Time to get up…
Breakfast on the “terrace”
Our guide Tenzin is already helping our host to setup the breakfast tables outside. A bit improvised, but what a view over the valley. Clouds slowly lifted while the sun is coming up.
Continue reading Phunaka valley – hiking along a path our guide did not yet know
The city of Thimphu faded away behind us. We set off to explore the countryside of Bhutan.
Roads are always spectacular in this mountainous country. But today leads us above the Dolchua pass. 108 stupas in the front. The horizon dotted with several 7000+ meter high snow-capped mountains.
Arriving at the highest point of the road, we see the stupas. But where are the mountains?
Continue reading Gangtey valley, farmhouses and a special walk to another festival
Better “late than never” there is some nice experience to share with you from Ecuador…despite us already being some days in Peru by now: We took a train ride along Devils Nose.
Historically a master piece of engineering: The Trans-Andean Railway went from Guayaquil (at the coast) up until Quito (in the middle of the mountains) within Ecuador. Along the track in between both cities there are many of the highest peaks outside the Himalaya. These had to worked around or across to make this project a success.
Well, that’s all history by now. Today not much of Ecuadors’ pride remains. Various “El Nino” years with their torrential rains have damaged the tracks severely. And in the decades of streets and lorries to transport goods nobody saw a need for maintenance. All that remains somewhat functional for touristic reasons is a stretch between the cities Riobamba and Sibambe.
Our guidebook referred to this part nevertheless as a highlight to visit, as you pass along the famous Devils Nose. Sure as hell we also wanted to tip toe on the devils’ nose (6)
Riobamba but no train
There were already some discussions around fellow travelers, that the train currently is not operating. Rumors differed widely from “the track is simply in too bad of a condition” to “some tourists died when standing on the roof to take some pictures”. But nobody knew for sure.
Doesn’t scare us. But when reaching Riobambas train station it was confirmed, currently no train. And the substitute “ferrocaril” is sold out for the coming days. We didn’t understand what type of vehicle this replacement would be, they alternately talked about a “train” and a “bus on the tracks” *smiley surprised*
Thanks to insisting and Iris’ charm, working on the sales lady at the ticket office as well, we nevertheless got some tickets for the replacement vehicle from Alausi to Sibambe. Shorter and more expensive than expected, but at least covering somehow the Devils Nose *smiley smiling*
Continue reading Devils Nose – by train through the Andes