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February 16th 2008
Published: February 16th 2008EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Otavalo Market
Hi everyone. Thanks for all your messages, they are so much fun to receive, sorry we cant reply individually but keep sending!
On our return from Galapagos we explored the city of Quito in more depth. It is a great place with an old town (pretty) and a new town (lively). We visited the equator at La Mitad del Mundo where Pen balanced an egg on a nail (less gravity at the equator because the world is squashed - yeah honest) also you weigh a pound less at the equator! We climbed Ruhu Pinchincha volcano (4680m) at the top of the Quito TelerifiQo, climbed El Panecillo monument and a very tall belfry (Basilica) which had the dodgiest ladders you have ever stepped on- no health and safety here!
Next we headed to Cotopaxi (a very high active volcano just south of Quito) where Penny climbed to the glacier line at 5000m (Darryl elected for a sit down fifty metres short)! After climbing Cotopaxi we visited a traditional indian home (hut made of straw and mud) complete with guinea pigs and many scruffy children! We stayed the night at a fantastic old Indian farmhouse where we learnd to milk a cow (Daz
Indian ChildrenIndian ChildrenIndian Children

Lake Quilatoa
was very good - see photo).
The next day we hiked for 4 hours around a stunning volcanic crater lake - Lake Quilotoa - which was an amazing 360 degree panaramic view for the whole hike. Certainly this is one of the most beautiful experiences on our trip so far. We met Julie and Martin, students from Belgium, who kept us company for the day which was good fun.
The following day we took a bus to Otovalo where we scaled several peaks (all more than 3500m elevation) in another 5 hour hiking extravaganza (repeatedly getting lost in the clouds and losing the barely visible path....) We declined a 10km walk back to the hostal and after the first 2 km hitched in the back of a pick-up truck again!
Darryl discovered yet another hammock at the hostal (he has an uncanny skill for spotting them). Today we visited Otavalo market where Darryl had to stop Penny from buying the entire market. For textiles it was quite amazing. Even Darryl enjoyed the shopping. Rucksack space limited us to gloves, hats, earrings and a tablecloth. We will be doing a lot more climbing so need warm clothes. We have trekked for
Darryl Milking a CowDarryl Milking a CowDarryl Milking a Cow

Tigua Farm, near Quilatoa
about 15 hours over the last four days so our lungs and legs are getting stronger. We are at altitude in Otavalo so it is pretty cold but views from our hostal are stunning and log fires make it all worthwhile. We have met a lot of ecuadorians now and we love them. They are warm, friendly and hospitable! We will be sad to leave Ecuador, there is so much to see and do and the scenery is amazing.
Next stop Peru - bargain flight to Lima via Guayaquil.
For some reason photos will not load so will add them tomorrow!

Additional photos below
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Lake QuilatoaLake Quilatoa
Lake Quilatoa

This photo does not do the place justice!

View to El Panecillo from the precarious ladders

17th February 2008

All sounds as wonderful as ever. Adam and I are feeling very sympathetic towards your weary legs at the moment. We have just returned from a weekend up in Snowdonia. I arranged the place to stay ( a v pretty Landmark Trust cottage in the middle of no-where.) and Adam decided on the walk, stupid of me really as he picked the hardest walk in our guidebook - the Snowdon Horseshoe. The guide said it would take 4.5 hours and it was fairly difficult. The reality was that it took 7.5 hours (!) and involved scrambling up near vertical rock edges, climbing along ridges and slipping our way down scree slopes. It's now Sunday night - we're arrived home and it's painful to walk up and down stairs (worse than post marathon!). I like the way you've justified the buying of hat and gloves for the walking Pen, but not sure that earrings and a tablecloth will be much use! Enjoy Lima, see the changing of the guards if you get the chance (straight from the institute of funny walks). In Cusco the best place for breakfast used to be La Tertulia, off the Northern corner of Plaza de Armas. Keep coming with the blogs, Adam and George x
18th February 2008

Wow it sounds as though you are having a fantastic time! We do love reading your blogs and reminiscing fondly about the good ol' days when we were able to travel too..... Sophie Rose Sharma is taking up most of our time at present but we are loving every minute - although the minutes between three and five a.m. sometimes seem longer than the others! She is gorgeous and getting bigger every day. No other news really but looking forward to continuing to read about your exploits and toasting your safe return when you get home (drinking wine again is SO nice!). Sxxx
20th February 2008

A whole Ib less?
A place where you weigh less......amazing. Mind you, currently recovering from norovirus so hopefully that would have done something for my excess baggage. I have been reading all your blogs, some grateful relief from tedious night shifts and the like. Remember Pen to talk him into some 5star Luxury pad before you return.....! BW Abs
23rd February 2008

the delightful english winter
Hello! Your trip is soooo exciting but I am bored in Portsmouth, can you come home soon, there is not enough entertainment here....missing you both! Must start looking for a house for you in Southsea...
24th February 2008

Enjoying the blog... your trip looks amazing, I am extremely jealous. I would have sent you a message earlier, but, i've only just worked out how to do it!!!! (its the blonde coming out again!) It looks as though you are having a fab time make the most of it same old boring stuff here when you get back. Look forward to seeing you From Jo
27th February 2008

you may need a bigger house
Dazza Really understanding and kind hearted of you to all Penny to adopt 6 indian children. They will really enjoy living with you and using your games room. Knew you were holding off having your own kids for a reason! Neets XX
27th February 2008

Hi Guys, sounds like you're having an awesome time. Am so jealous as I'm currently stuck doing 3 months of surgery secondment and am v bored! That said, the weather is lovely here at the moment - sunny and crisp - so not feeling too bad to be in England. Plus I've got a week in Greece booked for the beginning of April so have some heat to look forward to. When do you get back...?

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