Day 751 (19.04.09)
Our adventure to Cotopaxi was to start at a leisurely pace with a tasty market brekkie and a bit of CD burning. We had teamed up with a couple from Holland who were going the same way and opted for a bus and taxi to our home for the next couple of days, the Secret Garden in the foothills of Volcano Cotapaxi.
With a little pallaver in terms of meeting the taxi driver (where our instructions were to meet by the horse statue on the roundabout ... found the horse statue but no roundabout in sight) we made it along the bumpy cobbled road to the hostel. Our first impressions were that this eco-hostel was going to be a great place to stay. Warm and welcoming it felt like a home from home as we settled into our 'honeymoon' cabina with its own log fire and relaxed for a few hours on the sofas with English copies of the Times and Cosmopolitan, picking up essential world news from both!
The place is a little more expensive than usual at 25-30USD per night, but that does include all your meals and soft drinks as well. We
were also lucky enough to have been given a voucher for a couple of nights free through booking our Galapagos trip with Carpe DM in Quito. Result.
With the afternoon pushing on we popped on some wellies and went for a quiet walk along the road to see some of the local scenery, lots of fields overlooked by Volcanos Rumanahui and Cotopaxi, occasionally peeking its' snowy head out from behind thick clouds. We also managed to spot some llamas, birds and a wolf (we thought it was a fox but the hostel owners assured us it was a wolf) on the way.
Having blown away the cobwebs we settled in for some wine and a great meal finishing the evening with some music in front of the fire and cuddles with the four soppy dogs who live at the hostel.
Day 752 (20.04.09)
After our hearty breakfast in the hostel we pulled some stuff together and planned a bike ride around the local area. Having killed most of our budget with our recent Galapagos trip we were feeling too poor to pay for the several tour options available at the hostel including the 'downhill course' nearby
that some of our fellow hostellers were going to do. We opted for a DIY job using the free mountain bikes that they provide and taking the two dalmations with us for their daily exercise (we didn't think the sausage dogs would keep up!). With Basil and Milo bounding along the rutted stony driveway, we soon found why the downhill option was so popular. Cycling uphill on uneven surfaces at 3500m of altitude was totally knackering, and to add insult to our 'panting' injury it started to rain. Coats on!
As soon as it had started however, the rain subsided giving way to scorching sun. Coats off again, and we continued on up the cobbled road further and further until we rode into and passed the next village. We continued until we reached a steep downhill section and, not fancying the climb back up to go home, turned tail and had a fantastic and much quicker but very bumpy downhill thriller of a ride back. By the time we got back it wasn't just the dogs that were needing a rest!
Just after lunch we then joined another couple of hostellers and thenow recovered dalmations for a 2
hour walk up the waterfall. Yes that's not a typo, we walked up the stream, following our excelllent guide Darwin from the hostel, rock hopping, wading and scrambling up the banks meandering our way up a series of small waterfalls. It was great fun! We continued up until we reached a superb waterfall that looked great from the bottom and a bugger to climb so we called it the end of our walk and started to make our way back the way we had come to the hostel and an afternoon snack, yep they also give you an afternoon snack!
Having expelled all the energy we had left we whiled away the rest of the afternoon with some reading and a candlelit bath in our cabina (there's no mains electricity here) before yet another great meal to top off a great day.
Day 753 (21.04.09)
With the morning to relax we spent another morning with the dogs, games and a book where the hours quickly flew by until the next group of guests arrived and we were due to leave. On the bumpy truck back to town we were joined by an English couple, Simon and Tilly
and it took no time at all until we could pick up a bus from the mian road to Latacunga and the starting point of the Quilotoa loop. We checked into a really cheap but comfortable enough place for the night before dinner in the market, yahtzee and bed.
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