Day 147 – Banos, EC

Day 147 – Banos, EC      01/15/11      Mileage: 0

This morning, or more likely long ago, I ran out of anything remotely interesting to say about the morning ritual of breakfast and updating the blog and email. I also spent a fair amount of time on the phone with UPS loosing my mind. I had sent some maps and parts for my helmet from the states and it was supposed to be delivered to Hostal San Blas a good 5 days prior to my arrival. Well, it never made it and UPS in Ecuador is NOTHING like the generally efficient and well run company in the states…it’s a total shit show…and that is to say nothing of the apparently equally as inefficient Ecuador customs. So, I’m now trying to have the package sent ahead to southern Ecuador…time will tell if that will work out or not. Afterwards I ran some small errands before heading back to the hotel to chill for a bit.

Another KLR policia bike….

What trip to Banos would be complete without a visit to one of the famous thermal pools, so in the early evening I went over to the Banos de la Virgen. It was Saturday night and it was packed! The cost was only $3 to get in and I did manage to find a bit of space in the upper pool, so it was all good.

After a good soak and a shower, I went over to the Swiss Bistro for a little dinner. Swiss food you say….in Ecuador? Sure! Why not, after all it is in the mountains, they do have a bit of snow on them and there are many cows…that’s close enough in my book!

Roughing it yet again….   😉

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Day 146 – Banos, EC

Day 146 – Banos, EC     01/14/11     Mileage: Local miles

The Llanovientos is not much to look at from the outside, but it’s a very nice place to stay and the view from my room is great!

The garden patio…very nice….    😉

The view from my room…not to bad!

I took a walk around town before breakfast went and over to the waterfall and bath house at the east end of town.

The famous baths in Banos. The water is a brownish color because of the high dissolved mineral content…or so they say…  😉

Breakfast was at the Blah Blah Cafe, where I had a REAL coffee, not hot milk with Nescafe, which I now know from my visit to Cafe Ruiz in Panama is No-es-cafe. I got the “Americano” breakfast, eggs, toast and juice. I often order the “tipico” local dish, but always feel like an ass as an American ordering an Americano coffee, Americano breakfast, or even a hamburger…it feels like I’m falling into a stereotype trap, and maybe I am. Do Italians feel weird ordering an espresso in Ecuador instead of that steamed hot milk shit? I should have asked those Italians back at the Equator. Anyway, after breakfast and a wee bit of internet, I fired up the KLR to have a look around the area, specifically the road east of town towards Puyo.

The first stop was to the cross perched on an overlook above the town. Actually, the very fist stop was a police checkpoint, but all he want was a look at my license.

View of town from the overlook…

And the truth in advertising awards goes to…..Secret’s…

In spots where they had built new tunnels through the mountains, you had the option to take the “old road” which was only a single lane wide and sometimes cut right into a cliff face! It’s no wonder why they built the tunnels….there’s no way two trucks would be able to pass each other. Oh, and the views from the old road were spectacular!

I stopped off at a cable car that took you across the river gorge above two waterfalls. It was a great ride, but definitely not for those afraid of heights! The view of the river canyon and waterfalls was amazing from the dangling perch high above the gorge…and it only cost $1. Back on the bike, I followed the road along the gorge which had great views of the river and surrounding mountains.

You can see the cable car gangling above the gorge in front of the right waterfall. Got to do that!

The cable car was powered by an old truck engine….I guess it’s better than pulling by hand!

That was a great ride for sure! Back on the bike I enjoyed more of the great road…

Damn, I hope that ain’t a train coming!

Further down the road I pulled off to tour the Pailón Del Diablo (the Devil’s Cauldron) which was very cool. The river crashes down into an upper pool that is almost like a cave, then thunders down the last big drop into the gorge below….wow!

You had to walk across this rickety plank to get to one of the overlooks…and the view was great!

Back on the bike I headed back towards Banos, but made one more stop to watch a couple jump off a bridge.

 

Another great day on the bike complete…

After more pictures of the road back to Banos, I parked the bike at the hotel and went into town for a bite, which I found at a cool little joint called Ayahuaska. I’m definitely a sucker for tapas, so I had to give it a whirl….the hummus specifically….with a Pilesner chaser. They even gave me an iced coffee frap on the house to top off my snack…very nice!

So, when in Banos, check it out! After that, no surprise, I worked on the blog at an internet joint….and chased that with several more Pilesner’s before stumbling back to the room…