Every day is better than the day before.
Yesterday, Day 8, we arrived in Banos. We were lucky to catch a direct bus to Banos, not having to transfer in Amabato! Bar and I grabbed seats next to eachother and exchanged ipods for the ride. We bought some sweet empanadas on the bus for 50 cents, and cuddled with a mans puppy for some of the ride. The bus ride to Banos was the most beautiful ride yet. Huge mountains topped with snow, smoking volcanoes, blue skies and beauty beyond belief. Once in Banos we checked out a few hostals and opted for Hostal Santa Cruz...what a gem! Cute, small, with a fire place in the center of our kitchen. Free internet, a full kitchen, hammocks and clean comfortable rooms with a private bathroom and shower (HOT WATER, and good pressure!!!!). Lou, Bar, Pat and I are sharing the dorm which is nice. We walked through the whole town which is cute and homey and friendly. While walking up to the waterfall, amazing waterfall, we ran into New York John, whom we met at Secret Garden in Quito. He told us that we MUST go to the hot baths at 6pm, so we hurried to Cafe Hood for some delicious grub, and then to the baths. Wow. You pay 2 dollars to get in, and I SWEAR that every single person who lives in Banos was there. You go in, shower, and then there are 3 pools: freezing cold, hot and extremely extremely hot. All have natural minerals in the water that are said to heal the body. We went from cold, to extremely scorching hot, to cold, to hot, back to scorching, then to cold, then to hot...then shower and home. We chatted for awhile but then retired to bed. Now, starting day 9....the most epic day yet.
Day 9: I wake up at 6am and do an hour of yoga outside in our beautiful garden. Following that we go to breakfast in town at Cafe Rico and had the most amazing breakfast ever, and it was only 3 dollars. REAL coffee with milk...and it was GOOD coffee...freshly blended pineapple juice, big whole wheat buns and buttery croissants, and yogurt with granola and fruit, drizzled with honey. THEN, Bar Lou Pat and I headed to Maria´s for horseback riding. We got 4 amazing horses and went riding with Marias husband, Jamie. It was the 4 most spectacular hours of my life. WAIT till you see the photos. There was a huge waterfall, giant canyons, we drank water straight from the stream and soaked our feet in the cold water running down the mountain. I´ve never seenPat so happy...and shes ALWAYS happy. Bar too had the most amazing time...all of us, smiling so wide that our cheeks hurt. Lou, who is 62, hadn´t been on a horse since boyscouts...but he had a great time as well, just a bit sore..... After the horseback riding we went and scheduled MASSAGES. And now, you are going to think that I´m exaggerating, but it was the BEST massage that I´ve ever had...and Pat, who has had many massages, agrees with me. When Bar walked out she looked like she was ready to just float up to heaven hahaha. It was a dreamy walk home. FUCK. Just amazing. I love Banos. I decided this afternoon, perched atop one of the highest mountains on a horse, looking out over this beautiful town, that NEXT year I am cutting one month off of Costa Rica and I´m going to spend it here in Ecuador, in BANOS. I was talking with Jamie about living with a local family, and he said I could rent a room from his sisterinlaw for 30-month. Everyone here speaks spanish...very very little english, so I think it would be a great learning experience. ANyways...gotta jet now, heading to the hot springs to soak soak soak. Later we are coming back to the house for some sangria I made this afternoon...and tomorrow, we bike to PUYO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
VIVA ECUADOR! VIVA BANOS!