Trip Start Jan 09, 2006
Trip End Dec 21, 2006

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Monday, October 16, 2006

We arrived Banos directly from Chugchilan, a much prettier and safer bus journey this time. Banos is much further east and very close to an active volcano, Tungurahua. It has already erupted a couple of times this year and as we approached Banos our bus had to traverse the latest lava flow and we could see a black cloud billowing from the summit.

After finding a lovely hostel to stay in, the three of us went and had massages. Heaven! And the following morning we were up early and joined the locals for a soak in the hot springs. It wasn`t as picturesque as Papallacta but still a lovely way to start the day.

Later that morning we went to the Basillica. Inside were enormous paintings of miracles that have occurred over the centuraries and attributed to Santa Agua, the local saint. There was also a museum attached to the Basillica, it has to be the oddest museum Ive been too. There was an enormous collection of dresses used to dress the statue of Mary at different times of the year. But next to that was a collection of metal models of modes of transport in Ecuador. there were also various bits of pottery. The strangest part of the museum was the collection of stuffed animals and birds. The poor things had been butchered by the world`s least talented taxidermist. It was hard to know whether to laugh or cry. I had tears running down my face.

In the afternoon we went for a long walk up the hillside behind Banos. It was actually rather longer than we had intended and it was already dark by the time we got back into town. It was great to get out and stretch our legs again though. Up on the hill were a few tiny farms. At one we met a very old lady and her husband. They were very concerned that we shouldn`t take any photos of their animals - apparently it saps their strength.
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