A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about banos

Gold sun mask and traditional ice cream

Baños and Quito


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Edit from October 2019: The name of the restaurant where we had the traditional ice cream is (I'm pretty sure) Heladería San Agustín. Still going strong it seems, though I don't of course know if they still make their ice cream the traditional way...

Thursday 12/6/14

I knew the journey to Quito today would only take between two and three hours, so there was no need to get to the bus terminal particularly early. We had time for a nice relaxed breakfast (we also made up two jam rolls each for ourselves to have for lunch on the bus), a soft drink and a game or two of pool at the bar before walking leisurely in the sunshine to the terminal.

2014-06-12-10h24m50.JPG2014-06-12-10h35m49.JPG2014-06-12-10h34m50.JPG2014-06-12-10h35m56.JPG

Once we arrived at the terminal I had no problems getting tickets for the next bus to Quito. We left on time and arrived at the shiny new Quitumbe bus terminal in Quito on time as well.

We rested and used the internet for a bit on our arrival at the hostel. In the evening we went out for some dinner round the corner at a place recommended by our guidebook, but apart from the cheese humita we shared for a starter, which was delicious, the food wasn't anything special. My glass of guanábana juice was very nice though. After dinner we wandered down the street a bit until we got to Plaza Foch, which is the centre of the Mariscal Sucre district, a.k.a. 'Gringoland'. Today was the first day of the World Cup so the place was packed. Lots of security police around with guns, so there wasn't any trouble that we could see. We only walked around the square a little bit before going back to the hostel to bed.

2014-06-12-18h58m16.JPG

Friday 13/6/14

This morning we had breakfast early and took a very crowded Trolebus to Ejido.

2014-06-13-07h49m48.JPG2014-06-13-08h07m44.JPG

We walked through Ejido Park, in the sunshine, to get to our destination - the National Museum. We passed by sculptures and statues as well as a tree growing at such a right angle part of it had to be propped up.

2014-06-13-15h09m16.jpg2014-06-13-10h09m51.JPG2014-06-13-15h02m24.jpg2014-06-13-14h59m44.jpg

Sadly, while we were there an ambulance went past and stopped nearby - there were people crowded round someone who must have had an accident.

There were lots of fascinating exhibits in the museum, which was split into an archaeology room, a Gold Room and upstairs some religious art mostly painted by painters from the Quito School in the Spanish colonial period. My favourite items were the beautiful gold sun mask that is deservedly the flagship exhibit in the Gold Room; a ceremonial copper knife; a silver funeral mask; a mummy of a young girl found in a cave in Canar Province; obsidian arrowheads; bird-shaped ocarinas; a clay mask of a coca-chewer; and replicas of skulls showing the skull-flattening deformity that was practised by one of the pre-Columbian tribes in Ecuador. The Gold Room also contained a lot of information about how the various metal masks and so on were made - interesting to read about how they did this so many centuries ago. Dave especially liked this part. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any photos in this part of the museum.

After finishing looking round the archaeology, gold and religious art rooms we went up another level to a room containing a photo exhibition set up by the Turkish Tourism Board. Not quite what you might expect to find in Ecuador, but the photos were fabulous! Obviously they had picked the best possible photos of Turkey, in order to make people want to go there, but still. Turkey was already on the priority list of countries I'd like to visit in the future, and this exhibition did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm!

2014-06-13-11h37m19.JPG2014-06-13-11h37m44.JPG2014-06-13-11h39m26.JPG2014-06-13-11h41m47.JPG2014-06-13-11h40m46.JPG

After that we got the Trolebus into the Old Town and the first thing we did there was go to a particular restaurant/cafe for lunch. I was keen to try this place because it was founded in the present building in 1858 and still makes its own ice cream in traditional copper bowls. We shared a humita to start, then Dave had seco de chivo, I had shrimp ceviche and for pudding we both had a scoops of lovely coffee and chocolate flavour ice cream. The ice cream came in bright silver-looking cups that looked almost like vases.

2014-06-13-12h56m06.JPG2014-06-13-12h58m39.JPG2014-06-13-13h28m27.JPG2014-06-13-12h59m02.JPG

We then went on to Plaza Grande...

2014-06-13-18h59m04.jpg2014-06-13-19h38m43.jpg2014-06-13-19h00m28.jpg2014-06-13-19h09m35.jpg2014-06-13-19h01m46.jpg2014-06-13-19h07m39.jpg2014-06-13-19h10m07.jpg2014-06-13-19h09m18.jpg2014-06-13-19h08m58.jpg2014-06-13-19h11m17.jpg

...and Plaza San Francisco for a look round, because I was really keen to show them to Dave.

2014-06-13-14h20m04.JPG2014-06-13-19h22m48.jpg2014-06-13-19h24m16.jpg2014-06-13-19h32m51.jpg2014-06-13-19h30m40.jpg2014-06-13-19h32m21.jpg2014-06-13-19h17m59.jpg2014-06-13-19h20m01.jpg2014-06-13-19h18m33.jpg

Our next destination was the Basilica, which lies up a hill. We looked around inside first...

2014-06-13-20h39m11.jpg2014-06-13-21h45m27.JPG2014-06-13-20h32m56.jpg

...and then I went up to the top of the tower and took some photos of the wonderful views over Quito.

2014-06-13-21h16m35.jpg2014-06-13-21h02m26.jpg2014-06-13-21h23m45.jpg2014-06-13-21h16m44.jpg2014-06-13-21h05m46.jpg2014-06-13-21h06m43.jpg

On our way back down the hill I stopped at a bakery and bought five chocolate buns for us to have on the journey to Otavalo the next morning. We took the trolebus back to the hostel from Plaza Santo Domingo.

2014-06-13-17h02m23.JPG

For dinner we walked round the corner to an Italian restaurant for some pizza.

Posted by 3Traveller 16:18 Archived in Ecuador Tagged art basilica turkey museum hostel buses dave quito banos ceviche ecuador unesco_world_heritage_site ecuadorian_cuisine plaza_grande plaza_san_francisco plaza_santo_domingo pre_columbian_artifacts Comments (0)

Ziplining during the day, thermal baths at night...

Baños


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

A quiet and very relaxing morning today. First of all we wandered round town doing some shopping and looking at the sugar cane stalls and the men slinging and pulling around long piles of toffee-like mixture (taffy) from hooks at the side of shop doorways.

2014-06-11-10h51m13.JPG2014-06-11-18h10m53.jpg

While Dave was in a handicraft shop I suddenly thought of lighting a candle for Dad in the Basilica, so that's what I did.

2014-06-11-11h30m18.JPG2014-06-11-11h23m57.JPG

Then we moved on to one of several massage parlours lined up on the other side of the main square and had amazing hour-long full body massages for only $20 each.

2014-06-11-13h01m19.JPG2014-06-11-13h00m30.JPG

We left the place afterwards completely relaxed and ambled over to the Central Market where we had some lunch at a stall.

2014-06-11-14h15m43.JPG2014-06-11-14h00m30.JPG2014-06-11-13h58m37.JPG

Dave had seco de pollo, which he loved, and I had a delicious llapingacho, which is a plate of fried cheese & mashed potato cakes, a fried egg, fried slices of chorizo sausage, rice, chopped beetroot, shredded lettuce and a big chunk of avocado.

2014-06-11-14h03m20.JPG

At 12 we went on our next excursion... ziplining! The setting of this was spectacular, set in forested mountains close to Baños.

2014-06-11-15h27m19.JPG2014-06-11-15h36m39.JPG

On at least two occasions we ziplined from one side of a valley to the other. There were a total of six lines with a bit of hiking to get from each one to the next.

2014-06-11-22h11m35.JPG2014-06-11-22h48m20.JPG2014-06-11-16h06m28.JPG2014-06-11-22h01m53.JPG2014-06-11-16h52m58.JPG2014-06-11-16h53m10.JPG

On three of them we sat in the normal position, on two we got to lie in a 'Superman' position and on one we ziplined hanging upside down.

2014-06-11-22h33m33.JPG2014-06-11-23h24m10.JPG2014-06-11-16h24m04.JPG

It was all fantastic. Just to top it all off, as we returned from the final zipline to the where we'd been given the equipment at the start, we passed a house with four incredibly cute puppies who came up to us to say hello. I think they were Golden Retrievers.

After dinner and a game or two or pool we went back to the hot thermal baths to try out their evening session, which runs from 6-9.30pm. It was busier and more touristy than when we went during daylight - on that occasion we were the only tourists there. This time four out of five of the pools were open. We did several rounds of going in the hot one, then the bigger cold one, then the extremely hot one downstairs then the small circular cold one next to it and then back again to the hot one upstairs.

2014-06-11-19h26m12.JPG2014-06-11-21h19m00.JPG2014-06-11-21h19m56.JPG2014-06-11-21h23m58.JPG

After eventually leaving the baths we explored the waterfall area next door before going back to the hostel.

2014-06-11-21h48m34.JPG

We shared an amazing pizza there before going to bed tired but extremely happy.

Posted by 3Traveller 15:30 Archived in Ecuador Tagged waterfalls market basilica hostel dad dave banos ecuador ziplining explorations ecuadorian_cuisine freshwater_swimming thermal_baths Comments (0)

White-water rafting and some thermal baths

Baños and the River Pastaza


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

Monday 9/6/14

This was a quiet day... breakfast, several games of pool, then a look round town. I showed Dave the traditional taffee-pullers on our way to the Basilica, our first destination.

2014-06-09-09h23m27.JPG2014-06-09-13h51m54.JPG2014-06-09-13h51m32.JPG2014-06-09-19h02m27.jpg2014-06-09-18h59m20.jpg

We had a good look round.

2014-06-09-12h22m22.JPG2014-06-09-12h30m40.JPG2014-06-09-12h44m06.JPG2014-06-09-12h46m07.JPG2014-06-09-12h45m30.JPG2014-06-09-12h18m45.JPG2014-06-09-12h39m07.JPG

Then we booked a white water rafting session for the next morning and a ziplining session for Wednesday afternoon at a travel & tour agent and had a delicious lunch at a restaurant - a vegetarian pizza and a tuna fillet in a shrimp sauce (we both had half of each one). Then we went to an internet café and gave our nearest & dearest our happy news by Google Video Chat and by phone! After a while Dave went back to the hostel and I stayed online for an hour or so. In the evening the hostel gave every guest who wanted it a free dinner of pesto pasta, so we had that. We finished the day with some more games of pool and several games of whist and 10-card rummy.

Tuesday 10/6/14

Although it was raining this morning, we still had a brilliant time rafting on the River Pastaza! Aside from our guide Patricio and us, there were four Americans. Before we got on the river Patricio gave us a talk about and demonstration of instructions, safety strategies, what to do if we or someone else fell in, etc. He gave us our sitting positions as well; Dave and the only other guy at the front, the rest of us in rows of two behind. I was sitting directly behind Dave. Patricio sat at the back.

P6102577.JPG2014-06-10-11h49m21.JPGP6102573.JPGP6102589.JPG

As soon as we got to the riverbank and saw how incredibly fast the water was running (it had rained a lot overnight and the night before that) one of the Americans, who had been acting nervously on the minibus on the way to the river, had a moment of panic - she stepped away from the raft and said she didn't want to do it any more - but was persuaded back by her friend to give it a go. Patricio said that there was a potential stopping point halfway along if she wanted to be dropped off there.

Due to the swollen nature of the river part of it was no longer accessible to us, but the section we did go on was still long. The scenery was beautiful - it was a lot like the River Napo, with large, round stones on the banks instead of mud and beyond that a selection of rainforest and other lush greenery on every side stretching into the distance. Photos were taken throughout by the safety kayaker, who amazed us with his skill manoeuvering his kayak around through the rapids.

P6102732.JPGP6102669.JPGP6102765.JPGP6102611.JPGP6102638.JPGP6102622.JPG

After a while Patricio asked me if I would like to sit on the 'prow' of the raft facing out, sitting on the edge with my feet in the water whilst holding onto the rope that ran round the side of the raft as hard as I could with both hands. I jumped at the chance and it was very exciting, especially considering that when waves crashed over us head-on I took the full force of them.

P6102709.JPG2014-06-10-12h45m12-12.JPG

I managed not to fall in the river at any point, luckily. After ten minutes or so one of the other girls wanted a go, so we exchanged places and I took her paddle. Once she'd finished her go nobody else wanted to take her place so I did so for a second turn. The nervous American had chosen not to get dropped off halfway along, by the way, because she said she was enjoying it more than she thought she would. The whole experience was really exciting and we would both definitely do it again like a shot!

On the way back we stopped at a tiny village called Rio Negro and were given some lunch - grilled fish, rice, salad and some massive slices of watermelon - before returning to Baños. It was about half past two by the time we got back.

Back at the hostel we stayed only for a chocolate brownie (Dave), a crumbly blueberry slice (me), a drink each and a game of pool before going out on another excursion - this time only round the corner from the hostel to the open air hot thermal baths.

2014-06-10-15h03m54.JPG2014-06-10-15h17m33.JPG2014-06-10-15h08m11.JPG2014-06-10-15h20m40.JPG

The sun had come out by now. We had a great time soaking ourselves in the two hot pools that were available during the day (there were three others, including one extremely hot and two cold, but apparently they are only accessible in the evening session). It was quite surreal in an extremely good way.

2014-06-10-15h37m00.JPG2014-06-10-15h35m36.JPG2014-06-10-15h37m29.JPG2014-06-10-16h28m04.JPG2014-06-10-15h38m52.JPG2014-06-10-16h19m44.JPG

On our way back to the hostel we saw these not-quite-ripe clementine and tomatilla (tree tomato) bushes.

2014-06-10-16h36m28.JPG2014-06-10-16h36m58.JPG

Dinner was free once more at the hostel - risotto this time. It was good but we were still hungry afterwards so we paid for a chocolate brownie to share and a Cuban Libre cocktail each. To top the night off we played some pool, rummy and whist before going to bed.

2014-06-09-19h19m51.JPG2014-06-09-21h08m40.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 08:15 Archived in Ecuador Tagged basilica hostel dave cocktails banos andes ecuador white_water_rafting ecuadorian_cuisine river_trip thermal_baths Comments (0)

Arrival in Baños

Cuenca and Baños


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

No time to wait for our free breakfast in Cuenca this morning because we had a marathon journey to Baños ahead of us. The first leg, from Cuenca to Ambato, started at 8.10am and took just under seven hours; the scenery was even more spectacular this time than it was yesterday.

2014-06-08-07h08m11.JPG2014-06-08-10h46m39.JPG2014-06-08-09h24m18.JPG2014-06-08-09h33m44.JPG2014-06-08-09h27m43.JPG

On our way into the centre of town we passed some restaurants with whole roast pigs hung up outside. The one in this picture is just out of sight.

2014-06-08-09h19m49.JPG

Instead of Ambato bus terminal we were dropped off at the side of a road on the outskirts of the city instead, something I was momentarily slightly concerned about. Dave got a nosebleed just then as well. Luckily it stopped after a minute and then I noticed Baños buses passing by so I knew we were in the right place. We had to cross the road but only two minutes later the right bus came and we got on with no problems.

The Ambato - Baños leg took one hour. At one point we passed through Pelileo, a small town full of jeans shops - many of the shop signs had an apostrophe where there should not have been any ('Pelileo Jean's' instead of 'Jeans'), something I point out because this type of English mistake is actually so rare here. I see it much more often in the UK!

2014-06-08-15h33m11.JPG2014-06-08-15h34m39.JPG

The scenery continued to be fantastic right until we got to Baños.

2014-06-08-15h53m02.JPG2014-06-08-15h55m04.JPG

We arrived at Baños bus terminal at 4.10pm. Since then we've spent our time playing free games of pool and having a couple of cocktails at the hostel, going out for dinner at a restaurant (we had half each of both a shrimp ceviche and a Pizza Continental; I also had a blackberry yoghurt shake and Dave had a Coke and some iced tea) and looking inside the Basilica briefly just as the last service of the day ended.

2014-06-08-19h21m22.JPG2014-06-08-18h26m50.JPG2014-06-08-17h52m00.JPG2014-06-08-17h51m09.JPG

We also took some photos of the Basilica from the other side of the main square.

2014-06-08-20h03m08.JPG2014-06-08-19h54m02.JPG2014-06-08-20h00m45.JPG

Posted by 3Traveller 07:39 Archived in Ecuador Tagged mountains basilica hostel buses dave cocktails banos andes ceviche ecuador cuenca ecuadorian_cuisine ambato Comments (0)

Carnival, Day 4: Return through the Andes

Baños and Guayaquil

Edit from January 2019: Our hostel was called Great Hostel, or Great Hostels Backpackers Los Pinos. I thought it just as great as its name! Only given 76% on Hostelbookers, but if the place anything like how it was five years ago, it's worth a lot higher than that and I definitely recommend it.

We didn't do much this morning apart from have a bit of a lie in, pack, check out and move into the reception/internet/TV/bar area with our stuff. We also said goodbye to the hostel dogs.

IMG_0763.JPGIMG_0760.JPGIMG_0758.JPG

Inside the common area 'M' and I had a couple of games of pool on the free pool table before having some food at the bar with two of the others. I had pasta bolognese, the first time I've had bolognese sauce in Ecuador.

IMG_0765.JPG

After lunch I set off for the bus terminal to get back to Guayaquil, taking some more photos of town on the way. I got one of the basilica, one of a park and one of the taffy-makers doing their thing.

IMG_0768.JPGIMG_0769.JPGIMG_0770.JPG

The others had bought their tickets in advance - I hadn't bought mine then as well because I thought I was going to go back via the little town of Guaranda and the others were going direct. Plus their tickets were for 5 pm and I needed an earlier bus. I didn't actually go back via Guaranda because I realised I wouldn't have time, plus I would have had to change buses at Ambato and I didn't want a repeat of the hassle I'd had yesterday evening.

At the bus terminal I took the opportunity to try some sugar cane sticks and juice! I had the juice as soon as I bought it but saved the sticks for the journey.

IMG_0772.JPG

At the terminal there are lots of little ticket offices run by different companies (it's the same at the bus terminal of every other place I've been to in Ecuador) so I bought a ticket to Guayaquil from pretty much the first I came to. My bus left at 2.30 pm and the journey was rather uneventful apart from the spectacular scenery we passed...

IMG_0780.JPGIMG_0777.JPG

...and a Carnival water-throwing incident. Two or three men were waiting by the side of the road with buckets of water and as we passed by them they threw the water as hard as they could - luckily this happened on the opposite side to me so I didn't get wet. One of the windows was open on that side so the girls sitting in the seats next to it got soaked! They seemed to take it in good part, though.

We arrived at Guayaquil bus station between 8.30 and 9 pm. After waiting unsuccessfully for quite a while for the right bus to Alborada Sexta, I admitted defeat, realised that they had most probably stopped running for the night and took a taxi instead.

Posted by 3Traveller 13:56 Archived in Ecuador Tagged basilica hostel buses carnival banos andes ecuador guayaquil Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 9) Page [1] 2 » Next