13 October – Day 83
Quito, Ecuador to Banos, Ecuador
Our somewhat loose plan of meeting up with Jeremy again at noon on the road leading into Quito actually worked! This was after a couple of hours – for us at least – on the road from Quito, where strangely the traffic was worse outside of the city than it was in the city, and there were a few more 20c tolls which are pretty common here. Unlike in Colombia, where the roads are free for motorbikes (if your bike is skinny enough to ride through the very narrow bike lanes! We’d heard stories about overlanders losing panniers on the cement barriers on either side… and it was a very tight fit!), here in Ecuador there’s a discounted rate for bikes. Which is good!
Banos is a very popular holiday town famous for its waterfalls, landscape, massage and ‘adventure activities’. The three of us – as we’re now a travelling party of three – decided to take tomorrow off and have a good explore around the valley. The scenery on the way in was pretty spectacular… a smooth winding road down along a steep valley face lined with lush pasture and dotted with farmhouses and.. gumtrees!
After settling into our hostel, we went for a long walk around the town to get a feel for it and also decide what we wanted to do tomorrow. Adrian and I got a massage – for Adrian, it was his first ever hot stone massage… and I don’t think he’ll be rushing back for more! Apart from having his leg hairs singed from a stone that was just too hot, apparently his person spent all 65 minutes just sort of patting him like you would the head of a dog.
After dinner we took the bikes up one of the nearby mountains to have a look at the local volcano, Tungurahua, which is currently active. It was amazing… you could see plumes of lava just spewing up and out into the night sky. Really, it looked incredible and was quite moving, in a wow-nature-is-amazing kind of way…