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Published: December 18th 2015
We headed out for Baños leaving from the now familiar bus terminal at Latacunga. We were told to change buses on the outskirts of Amato which was more like just the edge of a busy road. On the second bus, as there were no seats left Vicks got to ride up front with the driver in the seat of the chap that usually goes round collecting the money. For the hour and a half journey Vicks was mainly being quizzed over the differences between Ecuador and England with the driver and the sellers of food that jump onto the bus at any given stop.
We arrived at Baños to find out that it was the build up to “Baños Day” which meant that the town was extremely busy. We also arrived on a weekend and it was packed with Ecuadorian tourists too. The afternoon that we arrived was spent mooching around the little streets and squares of the town before eventually agreeing on a place to eat. The choice was a poor one which I will come onto later…!
The next morning (after getting little sleep due to all the parties going on in the streets around us) we
planned to hire bikes and do the trail of the waterfalls nearby (a road that has a number of waterfalls littered along it). However Vicks wasn’t feeling too great so I headed off to find the local hot spring baths and a waterfall near the town centre. I then decided to try and climb up a pretty large mountain overlooking the town to “Bellavista”. I decided I would continue up this mountain to try and find the famous treehouse above the town which has a rope swing attached to it. I got pretty lost and ended up giving up after about an hour and a bit and headed back down.
When I got back down I persuaded Vicks she would feel better if she ate something. So we went out and Vicks got some soup. On the walk back to the hostel though we were soon seeing the soup again as Vicks barfed in the middle of a busy square in the town…!
So the next day Vicks felt a little better (after a lot of Dioralyte) and we caught a bus up to the treehouse. It was a little underwhelming but the swing had awesome views. Once
back down in the town though Vicks was feeling worse and spent most of the rest of the day in bed. We were supposed to be travelling the next day to Otavalo but we put it off given that Vicks could not be away from a toilet for more than an hour!
The following day was a write off due to Vicks being ill and spending most of it in bed. The main highlights were watching the Goonies and me going to get a haircut without Vicks to translate – I have ended up looking like a mixture between an Ecuadorian and a footballer with poor taste. However, after a lot of pills and Dioralyte we decided to continue with the plan to travel the next day to Otavalo.
After getting up and partly packing we heard a lot of noise coming from the streets below. It happened that today was Baños Day and there was a full parade along the streets by all of the local schools. Some seemed to have prepared way better than others with massive marching bands and dancers whilst other just seemed to walk (or dance really lamely). It was cool to see
and some of the acts were properly good. This lasted for a good hour and went right past our hostel. Once it went by we made a break for the local hot springs and had decent soak in the naturally heated pools. After this we jumped on our bus to Otavalo.
After arriving in Otavalo (just the odd hour later than advertised as the bus seemed to pick every man and their dog up en route) we stumbled across a little Italian place and watched the end of an important local football match on TV. There were lots of ooh-ing and ahh-ing from the bar next door with every chance and goal.
So our only full day in Otavalo was spent milling around the famous craft market. As it was not a weekend it was pretty quiet which meant that every seller thrust their produce at us as soon as we pointed at it saying they would give us a good discount. We stocked up on Christmas presents and also sorted out our mode of transport to the airport for tomorrow’s flight over to Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands!
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