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One more sleep

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

It's time again to be spreading our wings and flying away from home.

This time our destination is the South American country of Ecuador. By the time we land in Quito, capital of the country, we would have been away from home almost 35 hours!

One long flight to LA, layover for 5 hours, then two more flights before we get to our destination at midnight on the day we left home. emoticon
That's because we will be crossing International Date Line. Don't worry, on our way back home in 3 weeks we lose a day and a very important date in Australia. 25 April - Anzac Day, similar to Memorial Day.

The first week we have a private tour of southern Ecuador with a guide and a driver. Spanish is not a language that either of us speak or understand.

Next morning we fly to Guayaquil which is Ecuador's largest city with a population of almost 3 million people. The following day we have a city tour and then afternoon to relax.

Next morning we get a guided trip to Cajas National Park. With dramatic open rolling land and over 200 lakes, Cajas feels almost like the Scottish Highlands and we might get a good chance of seeing wild llamas, hummingbirds, condors and perhaps even the parks most elusive animals such as spectacled bears, pumas and oncillas.
Hope we are lucky enough to see some of them.

We spend the night in Cuenca.
In the morning we have a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage city, considered by many the most beautiful city in all of Ecuador.

Next day we take a 4-hour ride to Alausi where we will begin our adventure on Ecuador's famous 'Devil's Nose' train.
We then continue onto the Chimborazo nature reserve. The reserve's main attraction is Ecuador's highest mountain, Chimborazo (6,268 m / 18,800 ft) which is due to Ecuador's equatorial bulge and the fact that it is the Earth's closest point to the sun. This giant volcano is topped by a 20 km /32 miles diameter crater surrounded by thick ice. The park has a lunar-like landscape where it is easy to spot vicunas, alpacas, deer and many other types of fauna.

We overnight in Riobamba and after breakfast we head to Banos traveling along the spectacular Avenue of the Waterfalls - Ruta de las Cascadas - runs between the towns of Banos, located between four impressive volcanoes, and Puyo, the capital of the Pastaza province of Ecuador. With the Tungurahua volcano towering over it, Banos is a popular destination well known for its hot springs renowned for their therapeutic properties and it's outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, bird watching, bungee jumping and repelling down waterfalls. The last 2 I do not think of even attempting.

We will get a chance to stop off and view the dozen or so waterfalls along the route. There will even be some spots where you can walk down to the base of the waterfalls to get the true perspective on just how magnificent they are.

The last night is spent in Banos. After departing Banos we drive along the "Avenue of the Volcanoes" on our way back to Quito. We will stop in Cotopaxi National Park. If the weather is clear we will be able to see at least eleven of Ecuador's fifty-five volcanoes.

I have to be up in 7 hours so I will catch up with the next part of our holiday in a couple of days
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