Quito to Baños. Lost volcanos.

Leaving Quito was rather a lot less traumatic than leaving a big city in a developing country should be. The road out of town was easy to find, the traffic relatively light, and the driving not too bad. Even the bus boys seemed civilised helping old ladies off of the bus rather than throwing them out whilst the bus is still moving.

The climb away from Quito took us to 3500 metres, the highest point on the journey so far. It would also appear that we have stumbled into the rain season, the tail end of it we hope. The rain accompanied us for most of the climb. On a long climb like this the sweat is so much that one is just as wet inside ones waterproof jacket as one would be without it, the advantage though is that with the jacket on the sweat is much warmer at 3500 metres than the rain is.

From photographs we have seen of this part of Ecuador we are of the impression that the Pan Americana Highway here is lined either side with snow capped volcanos, a beautiful sight we feel sure. Alas so misty and cloudy is it here that there is not a volcano or a snow flake in sight. The fields here are broken up by hedge rows, and with the climatic conditions the view we have is highly reminiscent of the English Lake District. So reminiscent in fact that the black and white Friesian cows not only add to the British countryside look they also add an authentic aroma.

I mentioned this to Sebastian and he said ‘then what are we doing here?’ and I said, ‘the beer is cheaper here’. He said ‘ohhh’ and we peddled on.

We spent the night in a pleasant little town at a hostel with a Dutch proprietor. Both the proprietor and Sebastian seemed as pleased as punch to be able to natter away in their native tongue.

A day later and we have now dropped down to 1800 metres and the small town of Baños. If we were to point our machines east and let the brakes off we would roll 1800 vertical metres down into the Amazon Rain Forest. Jungles though are not really our cup of tea. Instead we will head south west where a climb of 1000 metres will take us back up to the Alti-Plano of the Central Highlands. It looks like we then have another four or five days riding south along the Pan American Highway before we bear off and leave it behind for the rest of this journey. We estimate another week until we enter Peru where the roads will get smaller, the mountains bigger, and the adventure will change up a gear or two.


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