Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ecuador Fogged In

Daryll writes:

Since the last update, we’ve been riding for 6 consecutive days and the last time we did that was back in Mexico while on the Baja and trying to escape the 40°C before catching the ferry to the mainland.  We needed to make up some time and decided that we wanted to get to Peru for the New Year. Hence the lack of blog posts over the last week, as we’ve been riding every day.

After catching up on emails and blog updates on Dec. 26th, we met Shane and Paul for coffee to say goodbye as we were leaving the next day and they needed to get some bike maintenance done in Quito.  We were honored when Paul handed us a Bavarian Coat of Arms Flag which we needed to carry with us for the rest of the trip and bring back to his home town of Furth, Germany when we get to Europe.  That’s the kind of people you meet.

Bavarian flag changing hands
We decided to take the Avenue of Volcanoes route to Baños vs. a route that ran along the jungle.  On this particular route, one is meant to see several Volcanoes as you pass by, Cotopaxi being the most famous.  For a change, it didn’t rain on us that morning, but we rode through a blanket of fog all day and could barely see the road ahead of us, let alone a series of Volcanoes that we were riding amongst.  We were at an altitude of 3,600 m/11,811 ft and it was cold.  There were two items that I’ve been carrying that I hadn’t used since reaching Ecuador i.e. the tripod and my heated jacket.  Well, the tripod was used at the Equator monument and my heated jacket got plugged in on this ride.  Riding in thick fog is worse than riding in rain as you can barely see the edge of the cliff or oncoming traffic as drivers here fail to turn on their headlights.

We finally reached Baños and found good cheap accommodation at $16 per night.  Baños is located at the foot of Volcan Tungurahua and has erupted as recently as August 2010, so there wasn’t too many tourists and the hotels hurting.  Even though it could be dangerous, I was hoping for some volcanic action, but alas, was only able to get a glimpse of the Volcano on our way out of town the next morning.  We did spend the afternoon in the town’s thermal springs together with every other local resident.

Volcan Tungurahua
From Baños, we headed for Cuenca, another UNESCO World heritage city.  We twisted through the mountains and the dense fog which was slow going and managed to get to Cuenca late afternoon.  Once settled into an expensive (to our standards) Hostel, we walked around a bit together with trying to find a grocery store to find some miel (honey) and a lemon as I was starting to develop a sore throat.  Breakfast was included together with the view, which made up for it.

View from Hostel

 New photos added to the Ecuador photo album.
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