Recovering from an accident, the active couple Patricia Stellina and Patrice Gambini lives in Monaco, and visited Ecuador for climbing the Cotopaxi and to see the amazing Jungle area of Cuyabeno with its incredible diversity. This kind of holiday is for everyone a lot of sports and impacts your body in some ways, but if you hear the story of Patricia, you might think about it differently. She grew up in France in Monaco and for 20 years she likes to scuba dive a lot. Then suddenly on 5th August 2012 she had a diving accident. “I did everything properly but suddenly I could not feel my legs anymore.” This is caused by the compressed air in the bottle. She could not walk for one week and will never be able to scuba dive again. Still, she has pains and problems with her legs and body.
But she and her husband always liked to climb mountains, they already did the Uturuncu in Bolivia, Blanc in France, Island Peak in Nepal (6200m), Tibet Kaisha Mount and Nepal Mustang. Half a year after her accident, they also conquered the Kilimanjaro. That is just possible because she trains her body with a lot of Yoga Iyengar, which helps her to recover. She told me: “I am a very happy person and I love my life. La vie est belle – Life is beautiful”, therefore she wanted to do all she could to lead a normal life again. “I just want to show, that if you are a victim of an accident and if you are motivated, try new challenges this is good for your mind!”, she mentioned. So her next challenge and plan was to do the Cotopaxi, which was also their motivation to visit Ecuador.
When they started their acclimatization program, they did not have luck with the weather, it rained a lot during the first days. But luckily it got better and they could enjoy the great views from the volcanoes. They really enjoyed the first small climbs in the Ecuadorian Andes and then the day of the Cotopaxi climb arrived. Around midday, the guide arrived and took the two to the refuge near the Cotopaxi, where they got some instructions for using the climbing gear. After that, they had the chance to sleep and to rest a little bit in their sleeping bags until almost midnight. Then they could have some breakfast, packed all their equipment and went towards the parking lot of the Cotopaxi, where they started their ascend. The first stage to the refuge, which is located on 4800m, was not too bad. It was cold and dark but this height was no problem yet, so after a small rest, they went further to the beginning of the glacier, which is on 5000m. Still everything was alright but the higher they went, the worse Patricia felt. 450m before the peak, “I started to find the way really difficult and therefore my husband was worried because usually I am not like this. After that, my headache started and my stomach felt extremely bad. At 5450m I needed to stop, I could not go any further, it was so bad. ” Everyone can get the altitude sickness and if you get it, you cannot do anything against it. So they had no other opportunity but to start their descend. She lost all her strength during it and still three weeks after this day, she has some issues caused by this.
During their acclimatization program they stayed in our Hacienda “Hostería PapaGayo” and she was absolutely amazed by it. “For me, my favourite souvenir is PapaGayo. I felt like I was at home and just loved the decoration, so naturally and beautiful. I just loved this place and the food. Furthermore the breakfast was so good and the dinner excellent and Renato, our waiter, was very nice to us.”
Since the ascend to the Cotopaxi did not work out too well, they decided to change their program and rather go to the Jungle than climbing the Chimborazo, which is even higher than the Cotopaxi. So they went on the same evening to the Cuyabeno Area. They spent four days in the Guacamayo Lodge, which we offer the most and they really enjoyed this time relaxing and recovering from the sportive part of their journey. “In the Jungle, you are regaining energy from the bottom to the top, because everything is so green, natural, you are in the wilderness and can listen to the birds singing.”
To conclude their vacation in Ecuador: “We enjoyed both. In the mountains you have to face your spirit and body. It is always a challenge! The jungle is a beautiful break from the overcrowded cities and our comfortable lifestyle. We really enjoyed our time in Ecuador and we want to visit it again!”