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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Ecuador - 11 November, 2001



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hostal Marques, Baños S01º24.003' W078º25.125' 1,814 m
Horse back riding . . . 20 km
Finish Hostal Marques, Baños S01º24.003' W078º25.125' 1,814 m .

Leg 1 Total:

616 km


771 km

Grand Total:

1,387 km


Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny and hot.  Cool in the evening.



We walk into town this morning to grab some rolls for breakfast before we go on our horse back riding trip up into the mountains around Baños.  We select (or rather they point us to) our mounts and we very gracefully hop onto the horse.  The horses are relatively small, but we hope tough and able to handle the steep hills around here.


Ecuador01_Banos_Horse05_Jac_C69_Web.jpg (92944 bytes)

We ride through town and around one of the bases of the mountain and then start to climb up one of the roads - it alternates between dirt and cobblestones.  We have wonderful views all the way up.  We are able to push the horses quite hard - even uphill - and we are trotting and galloping up the hill.  It is nice that they let us go out our own pace.


At one point Lars' horse becomes stubborn and insists on going down one trail (later on we discover that it is a short cut).  No matter how hard Lars tries (kicking, coaxing, whipping - do not worry, horse lovers out there, it was not a hard whipping), he just would not go the way we were supposed to.  One of the guides had to come back and pull the horse onto the correct trail - and then he was off again.


Ecuador01_Banos_Horse03_TownView_C67_Web.jpg (100109 bytes)

We wandered around on some trails and then headed back down and turned off on the trail that Lars' horse wanted to go on.  A short distance later we found an outlook that had a great view over the town. There was a large cross here that is lit up at night and can be seen from the town.  We (and the horses) took a break here for a while, including a very light lunch at a small bar.


Then it was down the mountain back to town.  This was a narrow dirt trail cut into the side of the slope and the horses seemed to handle it quite well.  At one point, however, it got too steep and we had to dismount and lead our horses down this stretch.  We all waited until everyone had re-grouped and then carried on down the slope.


Back into town, we had a tough time keeping the horses from breaking into a gallop on the streets (they knew that they were home).  We had seen how the drivers drove the day before and even though our street may have had the right of way, it would no have been good to have been hit by a car.  But we were able to make it safely back to the hotel.


The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and wandering (a little bow legged) the streets of the town.  We also checked our email at the internet cafe.  Paolo bought some of the nougat (?) that was being sold all over the place - it was made right in front of you.  They had a hook on the doorframe with a huge gooey mass of pure sugar that they whipped around until it reached some form of acceptable consistency.  Lars almost broke his teeth biting into it.


Ecuador01_Banos_Salsa1_Group_C70_Web.jpg (38631 bytes)

That evening before dinner many of us went for a one hour salsa lesson.  For some it was good (i.e., those that can dance) and for others it was a bit of a disaster (i.e., those with two left feet), but we all had lots fun.  She showed us all the basic steps and it was a good, but somewhat rushed, introduction to the dance.


Paolo joined us for dinner tonight.  We tried to go to one of the places that sold roasted chicken (that had large wheels with whole chickens slowly rotating around the fire), but they all seemed to close by 8 PM.  So we found another small local restaurant.  It was full of locals and they had high turnover, so we took that as a good sign.  We ordered three plates of some sort of chicken and were delighted with what was served.  A huge piece of chicken, rice and some fries with yummy sauce.  Even better, they had a great tasting picante sauce that we used up completely.  Along with a bottle of coke, it came to a buck seventy each.  Excellent meal.


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