Touring Banos!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2012
Trip End Feb 29, 2012

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 10 - afternoon

Day 3 of Ecuador tour

I felt quite at home walking around the city center of Banos, mind that our guide Gabriel was with us!   It was obvious that the place was a very popular tourist destination due to its relaxing hot spring, thermal mineral pools and adrenaline-charged extreme sports adventures.  Several shops lined the streets selling anything from city tours, adventure tours, handcrafts items, souvenirs as well as the city's well known production of taffy candy made from its local cane sugar trees. 

By following Gabriel down several streets, he went on explaining the history of the city while I admired the old colonial houses and flowery gardens.   By pointing to us in the direction of a mountain top, we could see in the far, far distance the Luna Runtun, the hotel where we slept the night before.  So here I was looking at it from the valley below whereas last night, I was way up there looking down below and admiring the illuminated city in total darkness…..

Continuing on, a beautiful central park was eventually passed through which led us directly to the city’s cathedral named La Iglesia de la Virgen de Agua Santa.  By going inside, a short tour was made where a beautiful court with emerald green trees was kind of hidden in the back of the church. 

Being way too tempting, a stop was made at one of the vendor’s shop where I watched him knead the famous cane sugar taffy as he pulled and pulled on it ensuring its proper elasticity and perfect consistency.   A small piece of the taffy was then given to us to eat and yes, I bought several taffy bars afterwards!  It was goooooood!  

Since it was now 12:30pm, lunch time in other words and since we were all getting hungry, once again we followed Gabriel’s recommendation and settled at a cozy little Italian restaurant going by the name of "La Casa de la Abuela" (Grandmother’s house).    I was quite happy; I was going to have pizza.   As for Michel, our guide and driver, they all had steak with fries and beer to drink.   The treat was on us….once again!

It was 1:30pm when we left Banos and started heading back to Quito, a four hour drive from here.  Looking behind me, the towering Tungurahua volcano still stood in total silence having decided not to erupt during my short stay here.  Oh well…..    Its snow covered peak was hidden by clouds dancing all around it.  It was a very nice sight, a majestic site one where Mother Nature had all the power and we couldn’t do anything about it!

The drive back to Quito was uneventful.  I slept for a while in the back of the car, same for Michel and our guide sitting at the front.  Luckily, the driver didn’t fall asleep!  Ha, ha, ha!   Well, I don’t think I would have laughed had he fallen asleep! 

At 5:30pm, we were back in Quito and were dropped off at the same hotel, the Anahi where we stayed a couple of days ago!   In the evening, Michel and I had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and retreated early for the night because after all, we had a big day tomorrow!  We had a flight to catch in the early hours of the morning because you see……we were leaving for the Galapagos Islands!  Hurrah!

Monique   :-)

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