Geo: -1.47201, -78.327
This is a quick entry. We spent a couple of days in Banos. Tried out the thermal baths for which the town is named. I have to say it is a bit creepy bathing with a crowd of strangers (we all had bathing suits on)!
We are on a constant search for good coffee and mostly, cannot find it. Although in Banos, we not only found decent coffee we also found the best breakfast ever - fruit, yoghurt, pancakes and cane syrup served on a rooftop terrace surrounding by mountains with Volcano Tungarahua (http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/tungurahua/news.html + http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2067811/Four-villages-evacuated-volcano-begins-erupt-Ecuador.html) looming in the background.
Our main adventure here was taking a local bus up, up, up past the small village of Runtun to a lookout that offered clear views of the volcano which is usually shrouded in clouds but we were lucky and caught it in full view. This little spot was one of the most unique places we've been to...it comprised of a 'party' hut, a seismic monitoring station, a primitive treehouse for people to stay in, and a swing that made my stomach fly. Best of all was a tiny hobbit-like house where an elderly man who volunteers to monitor the volcano
lives. Carlos Sanchez lives and breathes the volcano, educating anyone who is willing to listen to him all about the wondrous giant in his back yard. He says he has less than 30 minutes to evacuate when Tungarahua erupts, which seems to be pretty frequently when I looked at the websites above.
We walked a never-ending downhill on the road for most of the way back to Banos. At one point we headed into the hills on a path. Bad decision; it was almost vertical and after 45 minutes of that I thought my knees would never support me again!
We are going to continue moving through Ecuador at a rapid pace to make up the extra time we spent in Mindo. Heading to Peru shortly.
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