Our Last Day in Baños

This morning we went out to breakfast with our teachers since it was our last day of classes. Thank you Cristina and Estefany for your help!

Then we all walked around town a bit. They took us into a store which makes things from the Tagua or Ivory Nut Palm. The ivory nut is used as a vegetable substitute for ivory. You can see the nuts and their pod in the pictures below. 

This afternoon Duke and I took a bus up the mountain to a lookout on the mountain top call Casa del Arbol. The bus was full so Duke and I were standing. A man gave me his seat and I was able to have a nice conversation with his wife using my limited Spanish. They were visiting Baños from Quito. 

For a one dollar entrance fee to Casa del Arbol we rode a giant swing and a fun little zip line.  And the clouds cleared a bit so that we were able to see the giant Tungurahua Volcano which erupted as recently as March of this year. 

Baños Day 5

Here is a picture of break time in the common area in Mayra’s Spanish School where we are taking classes. 

When we went for our walk today we went over to the San Francisco Bridge and watched the adventurers jumping off the bridge. It is like bungee jumping but the jumpers swing on a rope instead!

The town on the right is Baños. 
On the way back to school we bought sugar cane and shared it. It was my first time chewing sugar cane. It was very good, sweet but not too sweet. 

On Saturday we will leave Baños and go to Cuenca. There is one bus a day at 8:45 in the morning that goes from Baños to Cuenca. This morning we also stopped at the bus station and bought our tickets for Saturday morning. 

Earlier in the week Myra from the Spanish school said that the paella at the local Spanish restaurant, Taska, is really good but you have to order it at least an hour in advance. So this afternoon we ordered it and tonight we ate at Taska had the paella with sangria. It was as good as it looks. 

Baños day 4 and La Ruta de las Cascadas. 

We haven’t found a good place to buy coffee in the morning before class so this morning we made our own coffee in our shared kitchen and feasted on pastries from the panaderia around the corner. These four cost $1.

During our Spanish class this morning we went for a walk with our teachers and practiced our Spanish conversation skills.

This afternoon we took a bus tour along the road east of Baños. It is called the Ruta de las Cascadas or the Waterfall Route. 

At the our first stop we took an awesome cable car ride over the Rio Pastaza canyon. 

At the next stop, the Manto de la Novia waterfall you could zip line over the canyon if you wanted to. We didn’t. It was such a long ride over the river and the waterfall that the zip line riders disappeared on the other side. 

For the whole tour it was raining but that really didn’t detract from the beauty. 

Our final stop was the incredible Pailón del Diablo – Devil’s Canyon Waterfalls. We hiked over a couple of suspension bridges and down a trail cut into the cliff wall to see the thundering falls – one of the best I have ever seen. 

Baños Day 3 – more Spanish classes

Today our Spanish class was moved from morning to afternoon, 2-6. So we got several things done this morning. 

We mailed postcards. Postage for a postcard to the U.S. costs $3.30! That’s five stamps and you have to layer them on top of one another. 

We took our laundry to the lavandaría. We will pick it up tomorrow. 

We had coffee. Then Duke got a haircut while I bought some cachitos (like a croissant) at the panaderia. 

Speaking Spanish for four hours of class is exhausting! We had a great dinner at Bambu Steak House although neither of us had steak. My chicken and prawn skewer was great and so was Duke’s trout. 

Latacunga to Baños

This morning we left Latacunga to go to Baños. We took a taxi out to the Pan American Highway where we caught an express bus to Baños. The bus was very similar to our last bus but they weren’t showing a movie. They did however have free wifi.

In Baños we are staying in a flat share owned by the woman who runs the Spanish language school we will be taking classes at for the next five days.

We explored Baños a bit in the rain.  Baños is a small town surrounded by towering mountains. In the picture below which is taken right outside our accommodations you can just see a waterfall.

We stopped for an afternoon snack of coffee and a crepe to get out of the rain.

By the time we went to dinner the rain had stopped. We ate at a Swiss restaurant. I had a wonderful pork tenderloin in raspberry sauce and Duke had beef stroganoff.  

Tomorrow our classes start at 8am!