When I woke on Thursday, the weather looked a bit brighter so I decided to take the opportunity to hire a bike and do the ‘Ruta de las Cascades’ or Waterfall route. I had a leisurely breakfast, which is not unusual this week as the breakfast of homemade muesli, fresh fruit salad and homemade bread is excellent and there is always someone to chat to in the dining area. Afterwards I took advantage of the fast internet, which is more than a little spasmodic, to upload some photos. Meanwhile, the bike had been delivered and it had started to rain again!
Nevertheless, I set off. Luckily, the rain was light. Unluckily, the route took me down the busy main road, which made me nervous. I had to travel for some distance and through a tunnel, of which there were a number, before I could get on to a side road. Fortunately, I only had to cycle through one tunnel as there are a number of them and some are very long. They would have been very unpleasant on a bike with trucks and buses behind and overtaking.
The route was mainly downhill, so I could do a lot of freewheeling. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all along the side roads as these were just there to avoid the tunnels. The road followed the river gorge for about 20kms, passing a number of waterfalls and plenty of opportunities for adventure seekers to jump off bridges, zipline or do canyoning (not that I am absolutely sure what the difference is between the latter two!).
At the Rio Verde, I parked my bike, along with quite a few others, and walked down (and then naturally back up) a steep path to view the Diablo Waterfall. This was quite magnificent because of the sheer volume of water that was cascading down after all the rain we have had over the last few days.
I squeezed my way, almost on hands and knees, through the very narrow ‘path’ (if that is what it could be called) under rocks and then pulled myself up through a hole to get behind the waterfall itself. I’d like to say it was worth it but I don’t think my knees would agree! My camera is now only functioning spasmodically as it has been used so often in the rain lately that there is water inside it and I never know whether I will get the black screen of death or it will work normally when I turn it on. Hopefully, it will dry out soon.
After walking back up to the top, my bike was hoisted aboard a camionetta for the trip back to Banos. Thankfully, I didn’t have to cycle all the way back up the long hill, the locals having the transport well organised for tourists like me. I had to wait about half an hour, though, until 6 people had arrived, as it wasn’t worth it for the driver to go with any less. Our seats were wooden benches in the back of the truck which, naturally, were not fastened to the floor. It wasn’t a particularly comfortable ride but far more so than cycling would have been!
I was soaked through from the waterfall by this stage and getting quite cold, as well as being starving, so, once back in Banos with the bike returned and the next instalment paid to the travel agency for the Galapagos, I went to Cafe Hood, which overlooks one of the parks, where I had a huge plateful of Pad Thai. And I ate it all!
Afterwards, I took a short walk in town, mainly to look for the weaver that had made all the wall hangings in the Casa. They are all made by one family and there were quite a variety on display. However, none of them screamed ‘buy me’ so I left empty handed. These woollen wall hangings are traditionally made in Salasaca, which is close to Banos, so I will venture there for the Saturday market and see what I can find.
By the time I arrived ‘home’, I was feeling quite weary so had a very quiet evening (just for a change!).