It’s fair to say that we hadn’t really planned our seasons well going through this whole trip. Having passed through the south of Mexico in what was basically rainy season we thought ‘right, that gets rainy season out of the way!’. Unfortunately this absolutely was not the case – as it turns out the rainy season in Ecuador and Peru was going to be exactly when we were there… you can’t write this stuff!
After Mindo we headed to Quito – the capital of Ecuador and the first city in the world to be named a UNESCO cultural world heritage site! It was named this as it was build on old Inca city, although when we walked around it would be hard to tell. We’d found a car park in the north of the city which allowed overnight parking for $2 a night – a steal for central city parking! We arrived a little late and headed into the old district that afternoon on the 25 cents tram however luck wasn’t on our side. As soon as we got the old town the heavens opened and needless to say the main square was deserted!
Despite the rain we powered on, heading to a gorgeous Basilica in which you can climb up through the towers. Unfortunately again luck was not on our side as it was closed by 4pm and we were about half an hour too late! Feeling slightly defeated we headed to the only place we knew we would feel better – the brewery! And to be fair it didn’t disappoint, with really good beers and also some great pub food… cheese croquettes were something we hadn’t had in a while! We decided not to try to take the tram back and called an uber which only came to about $2 itself.
The next morning we headed back into the old town to do a free walking tour. We’ve done a few of these before and always find them very informative. With a group of around 12 we were shown the market, the main square, a history of money museum and some beautiful churches. It was interesting also to hear first hand about the political and financial history of a country rich with oil, but also with corrupt establishments and politicians. The move to the dollar hit a lot of families very hard when it happened, and the effects of hyperinflation sounded like a modern day story of Argentina!
After the tour we grabbed a cab back to the new district in the hunt of Poutine, we like to eat out in cities! Unfortunately the restaurant had closed so we ended up getting sushi once again. We’ve become suckers for sushi. After a return back to the van and an afternoon chilling out we headed to an Indian restaurant for dinner. There, we met a couple who we’d met on the tour and joined them for a lovely meal – although once again it still wasn’t the same as being back in a curry house in England.
The following morning Mikey went for a run around the park we were staying at as it was like fitness central there! Then we headed off before lunch to Cotopaxi national park, a national park based around 2 volcanos. The journey wasn’t particularly long but the last 20k were very slow on a pretty rubbish road. This was made even longer by the fact that as we moved to the side to allow another vehicle to pass, the road simply fell away on our back wheel! Suddenly, for the first time since Canada, we were stuck! Luckily for us within 10 minutes the first passer by used a rope on the back of his van to pull us out – you can always rely on the kindness of strangers in situations like this we’ve found 🙂
We powered on up to the volcano and stopped at a laguna for a short 90 minute hike around. The landscape was absolutely stunning – and so different from what we’d become accustomed to on our trip. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the lake district somewhere, except for the snow topped volcano in the background! Then we headed back to camp for an early dinner and an extremely cold night – this was 4,000m high!
Despite the rough road to get into the national park, and our intended plans to spend two nights there one was definitely enough. We woke up in the cold and the rain and decided it was time to head back down a little bit! We still absolutely loved our time in Cotopaxi but were hoping for some warmer, dryer weather and so headed to the town of Banos. Unfortunately we didn’t find exactly what we were looking for….