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June 19th 2008
Published: June 23rd 2008
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Greetings readers new and old. Now I know that you are waiting to see the Galapagos Islands report, but I am afraid this is not it. But, as all you armchair travellers know by now, you have to take the rough with the smooth...

We made our escape from Uruguay across the river to Buenos Aires, where we whiled away a few days hunting down new tyres and preparing for our journey to Ecuador. Pretty soon the bikes were devoid of their 14,000 km-old, bald-with-kevlar-showing-through tyres, resplendant in new knobblies and tucked up in their flight boxes. An astonishingly smooth transfer from hostel in Buenos Aires to our pre-booked hostel in Quito then took place. Ahh, the joys of forward planning - we must try it more often.

Quito is a fascinating city with a rich colonial heritage. At 3000m, the second highest capital city in the world, it is nestled in a narrow valley between peaks and volcanoes. The old city is beautiful, with lanes of balconied houses and ornate churches. We visited the excuberantly baroque Church of the Company of Jesuits, ornately decorated to the extreme with 23 carat gold leaf on every surface. There we heard the story of the local Saint Maria Jesus, whose remains were moved to increasingly more prominent resting places in the church until, after three removals (there's no peace for the good), she found herself glorious in full sainthood and resting beside the altar. Alongside the historical quarter, the modern city sprawls out along the narrow valley. It is edgy during the day, and dangerous at night.

Whilst in Quito, we found that we had secured the Galapagos cruise that we had been hoping for and at a knock-down price - a week on the MV Eclipse (, with a great itinerary and a spot of welcome luxury. And so began one of our least favorite activities - shopping for a few items of clothing more appropriate for a luxurious life on the ocean waves than an impoverished one on a bicycle saddle; you know the sort of thing - blue blazers with little gold anchors and a new DJ for dinner with Captain.

Alas, all has not been plain sailing on the gastro-enterology ward. After some apparent improvement, I slumped to a new state of awfulness. Enough was enough; thirty quid procured sufficient pharmaceuticals to combat the Bubonic Plague, enough hydrolyte fluid to rehydrate the Sahara, and a lab report indicating that I had been invaded by a pesky protozoan type and some bacteria of the non-Yakult variety. Within hours of starting the treatments, real improvements were apparent, and I awoke in the night weeping silently at the sheer relief of feeling human again. All this of course under the guidance and counseling of Cockermouth International Pharmacy Services, who advised me that not only should I soon be mercifully free of the bugs that ail me, but any lingering traces of gonnorhea and anthrax should be banished. Well, that´s good to know.

Just in the nick of time, for the following day we flew to the Galapagos Islands....

Additional photos below
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24th June 2008

Pharmacy report!!
Trusting that Di has now fully recovered, I can safely say that the pharmaceuticals Di was throwing down her throat, although licensed in the UK have not been dispensed by any branches of a well known chemist in my memory! But hey as long as they do the job! Not only did you stretch my professional knowledge, it was also tricky tring to work out the time difference, strange to talk to you at 3am your time, 10am our time. Hope then cruise was fantastic. Lots of love C/mouth Int Pharm Services

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