Amongst the volcanoes

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Ecuador  , Cotopaxi,
Saturday, December 15, 2012

Somehow our departure out of the hostel was delayed as we were both in a go-slow mood, and we still had chores to complete, like checking the tyre pressures, cleaning our camp things and restocking at the supermarket. By around 9.30am, we were trying to navigate our way out of the big city, which thankfully proved to be a lot easier than we thought it may have been. The pace was initially slow as we had lots of traffic to contend with and buses would frequently pull right in front of us and make us come grinding to a halt. After about half an hour, the traffic thinned out slightly and we continued on marginally faster through the city traffic. Around an hour and a half after setting off we finally made it out of the city and joined on to the main highway again.

The road now continued through a wide valley, with huge mountains and volcanoes on either side, many of which was covered in snow. We pulled into a small town, to find some lunch and enjoyed the usual set meal, with soup and a chicken with rice dish. It was quite tasty and came with a couple of glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade each for $2. We also used the opportunity to fill up our water bottles again, as although the altitude is high and the air is crisp, we are still drinking lots of water.
For the next 30km or so, the road steadily rose at a low incline out of the valley, which was still steep enough to really slow us down. Thankfully the views were amazing though and the slow pace allowed us to sit back and really enjoy them. We had huge snow covered volcanoes in all directions, and cycled passed signs that warned of potential eruptions, which seemed really cool. I imagined that we had to pedal faster to make it through the volcano gauntlet, as they may blow at any second, which was, of course, highly unlikely as the last eruption in that area was over a hundred years ago.

Once we reached the ridge at the top of the valley, we could see the area stretched out before us. We had now arrived into a timber forest of pine trees, which looked remarkably similar to those in Canada. They even had a fire watch tower, which we could see from the road. We both thoroughly enjoyed letting the bikes free wheel down the road as it descended into the next valley. The downhill continued for an hour or so, and during that time we had reached speeds of just over 60km for short periods of time, but averaged around 30-40km per hour.

We came across a small village, that was about 15km before our destination, so we thought we would pop in for some food before completing the ride for the day. We noticed that lots of people were stopping at one shop and everyone seemed to be getting an ice-cream. Well, if it is a local delicacy then who am I to turn it down? The ice-cream was made on the site and it was a delicious, creamy treat, after a long day on the bike.

Once we had devoured our ice-cream, we were both starting to feel tired and lack motivation to push on the further 15km to Latacunga. However, as soon as we got on the road, we realised that the remainder of the distance was all slightly downhill and we had a little bit of a breeze behind us, so we peddaled hard and picked up a fast speed again. We arrived into town in no time, and easily found a place to stay.
The manager was very excited to see us and chatted none stop in fast Spanish. I think that if we had been better conversationalists, she would've chatted to us all night; she just loved to talk!  The room was nice and we enjoyed one of our final hot showers, as I'm sure that when we descend to the coast we will be back in the land of cold showers. The lady directed us to a restaurant where she thought that we would want to eat, which was actually an Italian restaurant but we didn't realise it until we had been ushered into it. They made delicious lasagna though, so we were quite happy to follow the hotel manager's recommendation.
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Grandma on

MMMMM... home made ice cream, sounds delicious!!!It's a long time since I've made some. I'm sure it was an enjoyable snack. Love and hugs from us.

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