Ode to the Andes

Ode to the Andes

(thanks to Raffaella Rossi for the translation)

The Andes, more than a geographical place are a sensorial journey, unforgettable for anybody who has ever travelled there, even for just a few days. Our first encounter is visual. The Copa Airlines flight that is taking us from Cuba to Ecuador whizzes in the late June sky and, despite few clouds, we can still admire at the horizon, snow-capped and majestic, the Andes. Quito appears as a long snake that occupies a narrow Andean valley surrounded by the mighty volcanoes Pichincha, Cotopaxi and Cayambe. On June 27th, Daniela’s birthday, we climb up to 4,100 metres to admire the city from the top: it’s cold, we are running late but this first Andean sunset still charms us with its beauty. Our entire trip to Latin American is defined by the Andes. The dry and biting cold between June and August makes us shiver and get closer in our tiny tent on the first two nights of the Salkantay trek in Peru. A 70 km long trail, spread in five days to finally reach the fascinating and mysterious Machu Picchu, which retains its magic despite the thousands of visitors who walk the narrow streets of the citadel every day. During these intense and tiring five days we heard the roar of the Andes, generated by the mighty glaciers. Huge white masses seemingly motionless but in reality constantly moving and melting in the sun, giving birth to icy lakes that we swim for few minutes of unique sensations. The skin becomes numb, the breath stops and suddenly you feel like choking and losing your legs until you start swimming and realizing that your legs are still working as much as your lungs. Luckily the heart of the Andes hides unexpected warmth and provide natural opportunities to warm up and relax. In Banos, Ecuador, for less than one Euro, we could enjoy five different natural pools, each one with a different temperature, from the freezing cold of the glaciers to the boiling water where is recommended not to spend longer than 10 minutes to avoid health consequences. This deep and intimate contact creates an unbreakable bond between each traveller and the Andes, always there to surprise and make the trip a wonderful adventure.


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