Peru & Ecuador with the Theobalds travel blog

Last view of Quito as we leave

Market selling lambs and sheeps and everything!

Guinea pigs for sale. A lot larger so perhaps a family portion!

A fishy story I think

A volcano but not the volcano

The walk around the lake with the intrepid travellers.

Our lunch in the shack half way up a volcano.

What a real volcano should look like!

Hi, we are at our new hotel near Riobamba. Sounds like a really nice town but not sure yet.

The Wi-fi is a lot iffy and photos have not come through from my phone yet. Probably have to update tomorrow when we get back to civilisation.

Today was a strange and frustrating one as we spent a lot of it in the minibus travelling from Quito on the Pacific highway towards Riobamba.

We stopped to look over Quito on the way out but nothing had changed since yesterday.

The further south and nearer Peru the more reckless the driving became. Driving through the Andes means lots of mountains so steep slopes both up and down. So lorries are very slow and so cars, coaches and everything else seems he’ll bent on passing them. Double lines don’t seem to mean much and a lot of the time I shut my eyes. Fortunately nothing bad occurred and we arrived safe and sound.

As the weather was not great Diego (our guide) decided that we would go to a local market, or markets to be precise, to see the indigenous people and how they lived in the rural areas.

It was quite an eye opener for us as the first area we saw was the pigs. People had come to either buy or sell their livestock. It was not an auction in the way we have seen before but the people showed off their livestock and others made offers. If they came to a price they would register this with the market office and then take their new animals away. It seems a harsh life and whilst the animals were not treated badly they were manhandled quite roughly and I have never heard pigs squeal so much before. We looked round the rest of this livestock market where they traded sheep, goats, cows and other larger animals. Then we drove about two miles to another market in the middle of the town where they were selling Guinea Pigs, chickens, ducks plus assorted clothing and paraphernalia. Guinea Pigs were sold and placed in sacks that people put over their shoulder and taken home. Apparently in Ecuador they are seen as a special meal and there is a lot of significance if you are offered them to eat. Fortunately we weren’t invited to any parties. Walking through the markets they were selling fish heads and various types of fishes. Everything seemed to be one dollar but we declined any bargains. Diego had an argument with a truck driver as we crossed the road but fortunately it was just words rather than anything worse. We now know some Spanish swear words!

After the market we took a short cut to go and see the most active volcano in South America.

We were going to do this first but Diego thought the weather might clear.

Faust, our driver, drove off the road and we bumped along a dirt track until we came to the road into the national park of Cotopaxi. Diego delighted us with stories of eruptions and all of the warning devices in place so he was sure we would not be in any trouble. We signed in and drove further up the mountain range until we got the edge of the main cone of Cotopaxi. Unfortunately today proved to be very cloudy and wet so we only saw glimpses of it even though we were right next to it. There was a large lake next to the volcano and as the rain had stopped we had a lovely two hour walk around it looking at the birds and fauna. Lots of wild horses that have bred there since being brought over by the Spanish. We saw all of the extinct volcanoes around the park but Cotopaxi proved elusive so I only have a picture of a photograph that we saw at the hotel in the evening. Disappointed for the first time on our trip we made our way back to the minibus and headed down the track. Diego, who has turned out to be great despite my early concerns, took us to a lodge on the National Park and we had the choice of chicken soup, chicken stew, lamb stew and potato soup. Considering it was in the middle of a wilderness the quality and selection was really good.

We then took a long drive down to the new hotel where we were to spend the night. It is a hacienda style hotel and whilst it seemed nice enough it was showing signs of becoming tired. Irene and I ordered Pina Colada’s that seemed to be made with evaporated milk rather than coconut milk. Suffice to say I had two to drink.

We tried our skills on the very old pool table and Bob proved his skills by beating me and Irene. We had a nice meal but had an issue when they brought the bill as we had been told we were half board but they only had us down as b&b. We agreed to sort this out in the morning and went to bed to pack and get ready as we had another early start in the morning. With the alarm set for 4:15 we went to bed a bit frustrated with the weather and the hotel. Devil’s nose train in the morning and we had a long journey to get there before the 8 am rendezvous.

Good night for now.....

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