Saturday.........an unexpectedly excellent trip to Banos!

Ambato Travel Blog

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My room, Hotel Ambato

I set the alarm for just before 7 as the F1 qualifying session for Hockenheim is on cable.  Mark Webber is 8th

 

on the grid.  Then I go back to sleep for a while as I’m really tired.  I get down to breakfast at around ¼ to 10 and then ask the receptionist to get a taxi for me.  They get a radio taxi which is the most secure, although I’ve often taken other taxis for short trips. 

 

I tell the taxi driver that I’m going to the bus terminal.  He asks where I’m going and I say Banos.

Jeans in Pelileo
  It’s a picturesque small town about an hour from Ambato.  He says he will take me, I tell him that I don’t want to be rushed, we discuss what time is involved and shake hands on the deal.  For USD25 he will take me to visit the interesting places and we’ll leave Banos around 5 to 6:30ish to return to Ambato.  His name is Paul.

 

However, before we leave Ambato I want to get a bus ticket to Quito for tomorrow, so we go to the Pan American office to buy the ticket.  No, they don’t have buses from Ambato to Quito.  They recommend Santo bus company so we go to there office.  No, you can’t book a ticket but the buses go every 10 minutes to Quito.  I find this hard to believe; it’s a 3 hour drive and they have 6 buses an hour?  I double check that I’m understanding this information.

Subsidence from earthquake
  (everything is in Spanish of course)  Yes, that’s correct.

 

So now we’re off to Banos.  Paul is learning English, but the conversation is nearly all in Spanish, as my Spanish is considerably better than his English.  Occasionally during the day he wants to practise his English and we also have strange conversations in both Spanish and English.  Paul points out items of interest, including a major subsidence during the earthquake in 1959 and the town of Pelileo where many factories make jeans and main street is lined with shops selling mainly jeans.

 

When we reach Banos we wander around the shops, looking at tourist type things, earrings, clothing, food stalls.  I ask if he would rather go off and do something else, but he’s happy to walk with me.

Volcano ash on road to Banos
  Now there’s a great catch for some girl; a man who’s happy to go window shopping and looking at clothes!  I guess he’s in his 20’s and unmarried.  While we’re walking he’s giving me tidbits of information.

 

He wants to take me to the main church, so we go there.  Mass is taking place and there are many people, so I don’t take photos, but look at the interior, particularly the windows and ceiling and old paintings of the local area.  It’s a beautiful church.  Afterwards we go to see one of the thermal baths.  He stays outside as I have to pay USD1.60 to go in, although I’m only wanting to take photos.  The thermal water is yellow and supposed to have healing powers; some people swear on it’s effectiveness.  There’s also a cold pool.

 

After that we go and have lunch.

Main square, Banos
  Red wine, Coke, two reasonable sized dinners of shrimps comes to around USD22.  Next we head off to see some of the beautiful scenery and waterfalls in the area and the local version of bungy jumping off a bridge.  Paul is very good company, laughs at my jokes (or perhaps at me) and doesn’t rush me (bad memories of that trip to Nasca).  Afterwards we return to Banos and visit the zoo.  For USD1 each we see the birds, fish, snakes, alligators and more.  It’s quite a good display but I don’t like seeing birds and other animals in cages/small fishtanks.  There is another part of the zoo on the other side of the road, where they have condors, tigers and more but I decide to give it a miss. 

 

We return to Ambato.  On the way I ask him if he’s working tomorrow and when he says yes, I suggest that he might like to take me for a one hour trip around Ambato and then drop me off at the bus terminal.  He suggests that after he shows me Ambato, he can drive me to Quito for USD30 and I agree.  Have dinner in the restaurant again and use the wifi.

 

 

 

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My room, Hotel Ambato
My room, Hotel Ambato
Jeans in Pelileo
Jeans in Pelileo
Subsidence from earthquake
Subsidence from earthquake
Volcano ash on road to Banos
Volcano ash on road to Banos
Main square, Banos
Main square, Banos
Street scene Banos
Street scene Banos
Paul in market, Banos.  Note the p…
Paul in market, Banos. Note the …
Church courtyard, Banos
Church courtyard, Banos
Church, Bano
Church, Bano
Waterfall in Banos, thermal pool o…
Waterfall in Banos, thermal pool …
Thermal baths, Banos
Thermal baths, Banos
Cool pool, Banos
Cool pool, Banos
Photo of man taking photo of child…
Photo of man taking photo of chil…
Hydroelectricity scheme
Hydroelectricity scheme
Waterfalls
Waterfalls
Im not going across in the yellow…
I'm not going across in the yello…
Waterfall, note red basket with pe…
Waterfall, note red basket with p…
Peaceful lake scene
Peaceful lake scene
About to jump?
About to jump?
There she goes; actually I think s…
There she goes; actually I think …
Boa
Boa
Salamanders
Salamanders
At least someone likes chicken feet
At least someone likes chicken feet
Tarantula
Tarantula
Alligators
Alligators
Ambato
photo by: michelelbrink