Ok we weren’t really off to the bathroom but a town called Banos (which translates to bathroom). We had picked up a fellow traveler named Joanna who had the worlds smallest bag! She was fluent in Spanish as her mum was from Spain so was a handy travel companion. We pretty much spent the whole day on the bus. We hadn’t booked any accommodation and wandered the streets trying to find a place. As it was Halloween everywhere was either booked up or really expensive. We eventually saw some other backpackers and they took us to their hostel where we were able to find a room. Apparently Halloween is huge in Ecuador and the town was packed. We headed out to party but were all so tired after our long day on the bus that we didn’t stay out for long.
The next day we hired bikes and rode downhill to see some waterfalls. It is supposed to be a really easy ride as it is all downhill but it was so windy you actually had to pedal to go down hill!! Joanna and I were dying. At one point Joanna missed a turn off and went through a tunnel that we were supposed to go around. She came out covered in mud and a bit shaken as it was pitch black and trucks and been flying past her. By the time we got to the second last waterfall we were over it. Kirst kept going and went and saw the last waterfall but Joanna and I just chilled and walked down the 100 stairs to the big waterfall called devils nose or something like that. It was a huge waterfall and was pretty cool as you could follow this path through a little tunnel thing and go under the waterfall. We got soaked but it was good fun!! Thankfully you don’t have to ride the bikes back. You get in a big truck/taxi thing that takes you back up to town.
Kirst Joanna and I decided we really wanted to go horse ridding. We got a little group together and headed off to hire some horses and go for a ride to another waterfall. The girls were fine on the horses as we had all ridden before but the guys, Stan and Phelim, had never ridden before and were hilarious on the horses! Stan was really struggling as he had a crazy horse! We ended up going back and swapping his horse as he was def going to fall off. Unfortunately there was something going on at the cemetary and we were unable to get to where we were originally going to go so we turned around and headed off to another waterfall (yes there are lots of waterfalls in Banos!). It was a really fun ride but by the end i was in so much pain I could hardly walk. We were supposed to go for another few hours but all of us except Joanna and another guy bailed as we couldn’t face getting back on the horses.
That night we headed off to the thermal pools which is what banos was famous for. We walked over expecting a nice relaxing evening floating around in some hot water. When we got there we realised this is not the experience we thought it was going to be. The place was PACKED!! We had to line up to get in. Then once in we had to get these very dorky swimming caps and put all of our things in a locker. We then had to squeeze into the hottest pool as this is the only one that really had any room in it… You really couldn’t spend too much time in there as it was SO hot and you felt like you were cooking. After a lot of bumping into half-naked people and slowly boiling ourselves we had had enough and decided to head home. I guess it was an experience….. Not sure if it was a good one or not.
The next day Kirsten headed off white water rafting. In hindsight I should have gone but I really couldn’t be bothered at the time and wanted to have a lazy day at the hostel. I really didn’t get up to much that day but was nice having a day of nothing. Kirsten made friends with a group of Ausie guys that were really funny and they all decided to do this bridge jump swing thing. You jumped off the side of the bridge with a harness around your waist and then swung under the bridge. It looked awesome but way to scary for me! Of course Kirsten did it and made it look so easy and wasn’t even scared. The boys also nailed the jump but didn’t look quite as calm as Kirst did.
On our last day we headed up to the edge of the world swing at Casa Del Arbol. The boys had hired 4 wheel motorbikes but Kirst and I couldn’t justify spending the money on them as we had one as kids and used to drive them all the time so we just got a taxi up there. The swing is pretty cool and you do get some really good photos here. Almost everyone that has been to Banos has a picture of them on the swing as their profile pic at some stage. Kirst had read somewhere (I don’t know where she kept finding all these hikes) that there was a path you could follow back down to town. It wasn’t a hard walk but it was hard to find the path! I think we got a bit lost at the start but eventually we found some kind of path and just followed that back to town. That night Pete Kirst and I jumped on a bus to the capital Quito.