On Flashback Fridays I reflect back on some previous travels and travel mishaps before I started this blog. Follow at #FlashbackFri.
When we visited Ecuador a few years ago we also visited the amazing Quilotoa, a crater lake and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. After a bumpy ride in the boot of a battered pick up truck that had clearly seen better days, we reached the small village at Quilotoa, where we stayed in a simple, but cozy hostel for a couple of days.
Once we survived an incredible cold night in the hostel (we had a wood burner oven in the room, but once the fire went out in the middle of the night it was freezing again), we had a hearty breakfast, some much needed hot coffee and then trekked down to the Quilotoa crater lake. The hike down to the lake only took about 40 minutes, but it was quite sandy so I lost my footing a few times. The views were just incredible though. We even saw the peak of the mighty Chimborazo volcano, Ecuador’s highest peak. Fun fact for the day: although Chimborazo is not the world’s tallest peak, its summit is the point farthest from the Earth’s center due to the equatorial bulge. Because of the bulge, the summit of a peak lying along the equator is farther from the center of the Earth than the summit of an equally high peak at a higher latitude.
As my body was a bit bruised from our hiking adventure to Cotopaxi a few days earlier (yes, I had altitude sickness AGAIN), I decided that I have done enough hiking and hired a mule for the way back. I know, I know, that is incredibly lazy, but since the lake is at almost 4000m even something simple such as lifting a camera is exhausting. So that’s my excuse! A few fellow travelers decided to follow suit and so we rode up to the top of Quilotoa on the back of a donkey for a terrifying 30 minutes or so. As mentioned earlier the ground was quite slippery and my mule had a little baby that decided to tag along with us. While it was incredibly cute it didn’t really help to ease the ascent as it was always walking in front of his mother, which made it impossible for her to walk properly, and she ended up close to the cliff (too close for comfort!) a number of times. I saw my life flashing before my eyes a few times, but we eventually made it to the top again.
There was not much else to do in the village, so we bought a few cans of beer, sat outside of our hostel and enjoyed the last bit of sunshine, before the cold would force us inside again. After a while we saw a lonely mule roaming down the street, which seemed a bit unusual, as it still had a bridle attached to its head. There was no-one to be seen though, and the mule was slowly but surely making its way outside of the village. We didn’t want to let it run away, but what do you do with a mule? Chris decided that the mule might quite like to go for a walk, so he walked it through the village until we finally saw the owner, who was quite bemused that a foreigner looked after her runaway mule so well.
So this was the day we found a mule. What is your weirdest travel experience? Tell me in the comments section below.