We leave Chugchulan and onto Baños!
Wow are we lucky!!! A new guest had hired a driver to take him to the Black Sheep Inn last night rather than take the wobbly 4 hour bus journey, so the driver, a lovely man called Nestor, stayed over at the inn and was leaving at 6am this morning and was happy to take us down to Latacunga - we had such "buena suerta"!!!
On our way we saw the children going to school again...wow that´s dedication for you - all those tiny wee things up and walking over an hour to get to school- and all this happening before 6am!
Got the bus from Latacunga to Baños and arrived around 11ish. Staying at the Princesca Maria Hostel, $5 a night you cant go wrong!!! The guide book says "the idyllic town of Baños is surrounded by lush, green mountains offering great hiking and mountain biking and its hot springs are cherished by Ecuadorians and foreign visitors alike". I do agree the town is pretty but also quite touristy `cos it is the base for alot of river rafting, jungle tours etc. As for the hot springs, we checked out "la piscina de la virgen" aka the local swimming pool and thought "nah, no need to try it". One note on Baños. In Oct 1999, the volcano Tungurhua began erupting. Once the red-alert was given, the town was evacuated, but with no major eruption happening by Jan 2000, thousands of the towns folks forced their way through the military blockades and back to their homes. As a quick aside- there are some great restaurants here - Cafe Hood, Cafe Good and Casa Hood -yes they really do all have such similar names (the best banana bread i have ever tasted was at Casa Hood!) Yes i know food again but i have to put these notes in in case anyone visits and wants to know the good places to go!.
One of the "famous" things about Baños is the special toffee they make here, (see pic which doesnt really explain it at all !).... apparantly the "delicious" toffee called ",melcocha" is stretched and pulled against wooden door pegs all over town, again and again until it is the right consistency and then its squashed into little packets and sold. Didnt try the official one but did have some pretty tasty tablet (aka a fudge like substance for you non-Scottish folks out there!)...
Also popped into the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Agua Santa, for a look at the bizarre paintings of people being saved from auto accidents and natural disasters by the Virgin of the Holy Water - Baños´s patron saint!
So a quiet day today.... lets see what tomorrow brings. Hasta mañana!