The best ice cream ever

Puyo Travel Blog

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In the morning we rose early to book in some bicycles, as the girl in our group (Noah) wanted to attempt a 60 km ride to Puyo, estimated to take 5 hours to complete.  We rented our bikes and bought some water, and headed off.

                The ride is by far the longest one I ever attempted.  To be fair, the majority of it was downhill, with some steep stretches that allowed us to fly through the distance at an exhilaration breakneck pace.  The uphill parts however were absolutely ridiculously difficult.  I seemed to struggle with them the most out of all of us, perhaps because I was the only smoker, or perhaps because these guys lead fairly active Californian lifestyles whereas I sat in front of a laptop or on a couch for the good part of the last year.  The sun beat down fiercely on us and the miles rolled on, through mountainous green hills dotted with various waterfalls and extreme sports, such as bridge jumping (spelled by one agency as Yumping…not gonna put my life in their hands!) or gondola rides across the canyons.  We stopped twice, once at an oasis in one of the tiny villages we passed through, and once for a lunch at a lovely posh restaurant with an extremely friendly and helpful owner.  The village was tiny and insignificant, mostly poor looking, a sharp contrast to the restaurant with its spotless open airy interior, flat screen TV and fresh flowers on every table.  Despite the excellent level of service we paid only 2.50 each for lunch, a 2 course meal of soup, then chicken with rice and a pasta salad, a fresh fruit juice and a slice of watermelon.  Not a bad value, indeed!  For anyone headed down this way, I highly suggest taking the Menu del dia whenever you can, it’s always good and always ridiculously cheap!  After lunch it was painfully hard to get back on the bikes but we managed, encouraged by the owner´s reassurance it was almost all downhill from here, except one big hill right away.  He was correct, once we cleared the last steep incline (I walked it, I must admit) the ride was pretty easy, and the scenery changed dramatically from green mountain to Amazonic palm trees as we approached Puyo, a popular jumping off place for trips to the Oriente.  We reached our destination at around 4 pm, and located the local bus terminal to catch a lift back to Banos, enjoying a well deserved ice cream as we waited to leave.

                I slept the entire 2 hour ride back to Banos, once there we recollected our bikes (from the roof of the bus) and returned them to the agency.  We didn´t even bother to mention the technical problems we encountered: my front brake squealed ear piercingly loud and one petal snapped off en route, and Max, fair play to him, rode 90 % of the ride with his front brake stuck on continuously before noticing!  We had conquered our goal however so just left it off.

                Naturally, after a ride like that we all wanted to rest, so it was back to the hostel for showers and internet.  The night consisted of dinner at an Italian restaurant, followed by backgammon and chess on the hostel terrace before heading to a local pub for some drinks.  The pub was nice, 3 stories high with pool tables, and we had the top floor and table to ourselves.  After a few drinks and games we headed home for some sleep after our long, exhausting day!

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photo by: Biedjee