Tuesday, 7 May 2013


Banos is a small town in the central Andes, renowned for its curative hot springs and its very active volcano, Vulcan Tungaurahua, which towers over town. They evacuated everyone when it starts to smoke in 1999 for 3 months, until they got so annoyed with it all that they just went back to town and have stayed. 2 more days forced evacuation a couple of years ago, but life just goes on with this constant rumble, like thunder, in the background every twenty minutes or so. You can see it smoking for miles, but no one else seems worried, so we shouldn't be either!
Also renowned for hiking trails, we're off to check them out.

An amazing 10 km hike yesterday, up hill from town (there are no other options than uphill, we are in a very steep, narrow valley), climbing about 600m to reach a point for viewing the volcano. Needless to say the low cloud swept in and all we saw was cloud with a bit of smoke seeping out from the top. Fabulous views, though and amazing trails -steps up hill (nearly killed me) and sliding on your arse downhill. Just as well the views are good!
Amazingly productive country with all this lovely volcanic soil - tomatoes, tree tomatoes, papaya, melons etc all under greenhouses, plus good dairy country. Steep though - check out the poor cow trying to reach uphill for a feed, legs splayed, hanging on! Her calf is way down the bottom.
Also check out Papa Noel - you may not see all this woolly growth again.
Another speciality is hand-spun toffee - yumm. $1 for 6 pieces - very nice after a long hike!
Hot springs bath and massage tomorrow!

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