After a fine weekend relaxing, it was the final stage on the way to Quito. I had the climb back up to Baños, a 5 hour climb up a beautiful route, called La Ruta de Las Cascadas. One of the most famous things to do in Baños involves renting a bike, riding 30km downhill past all the waterfalls, and then jumping in a pick up truck to get back. I of course had the opposite. Climbing up and up to get back there. While it had been beautifully sunny there on the weekend, it definitely wasn’t on the Tuesday I climbed up. There were moments when the rain stopped, but I was often either riding into cloud with miserable visibility, or having it bucketing it down on me.
The route really highlighted why Ecuador is a good place for cyclists, and especially this road. There were signs everywhere about cyclists (although mainly on the downhill), every car that went past me went with respect, and not one horn was heard all day long. Such a beautiful thing. The route has several tunnels that make their way through the mountains on the side of the valley as it climbed up, but this was no problem. There were signposted detours around them, which hugged to the side of the canyon, which would have lead to beautiful views, if I’d been able to see much!
Having spent the weekend in Baños, I kept onwards to see how far I could get, and again found an Ecuadorian who pulled over to offer me a lift. With my foot being sore, I accepted and we went the rest of the way up the hill and got to Ambato, where I found the bomberos, who had put decorations up giving the place a very festive looking feel. They didn’t have a spare room, but pointed to a place where I could put my mat, and then – showing just how nice bomberos are – showed me up to the shower, and ran it to make sure it was hot. When it wasn’t, he took me to the other showers. What a nice man!
The next day’s ride was much shorter, only 45km, to the town of Latacunga where I stayed with Javier and his family for a couple of nights. The day off saw me go to the local Quilotoa lake, a lake in the crater of a dormant volcano with Jonathan, another cyclist I met while standing in the centre of Latacunga. There’s a famous ride through the area, but with my foot giving me grief, there was no way I was going to be doing it.
Quilotoa first view
Closer to the crater