Woke up rather early today, more or less of my own accord (7 something) and trying hard to adjust to Iris' time frame - as, although over her jet lag, she is still waking up much earlier than me.
My orginal plan was to hire a bike and cycle to "Pailons de Diablo", a waterfall about 20km away (on the way to Puyo). It is supposed to be an adrenline rushing ride, as it is going downhill almost all the way. However, the ride past there yesterday informed me that, although not very steeply downhills, it wasn't downhills all the way either. And Yat doesn't like cycling uphills either, so rather preferred the plan of hiking a local trail instead.
We walked south, and out of the town. The trail appeared immediately in front of us, going steeply up. Iris was obviously rather put off, but decided to give it a try anyways. Tried to encourage her by singing, and proclaiming how quickly and how high we have already hiked, whenever we took a (frequent) breathing break. Though we were aiming to walk to the nearby village of Runtùn (apparently only 2.5km away, but would take 2 hours), we decided to walk down again once we reached "Bella Vista", a vantage point of the town spread out below us. It has taken us an hour to walk 1.5km up the mountain.
It was just as well we begun our descend an hour early. We took the paved road down, which was a good two hours walk, winding round and round the mountains. The views were great - we spotted lots of waterfalls in the distance, the road was not steep, and we also provoked lots of dogs barking at us as we sung.
After a leisurely lunch, leisurely packing of backpacks (though I huffed and puffed, sitting on my bag and trying to do up the zip), we leisurely got to the bus terminal and took a rather leisurely ride to Riobamba. Here, we are to spend the night, and take the 7am train to Sibambe, then onwards to the colonial town of Cuenca - where I will take some more Spanish classes, once Iris goes back to the UK. A quick word about the train, it was known as the most difficult railway to build in the world, and one particular stretch of it goes down the "Devil's Nose" - a very steep descent. The main attraction of the train ride is that everyone rides on the roof!
Tonight is rather laidback... We ate our whole meal on the street, and had lots of fun poking our noses in all the street vendors' cookers. Wandered around the streets of Riobamba and enjoyed soaking up the bustling street life there. Later, we will go back to our cable TV room, and toss back some Clos - my favourite box of red wine... Yummy!