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Tungurahua - Lost in the Clouds?

overcast 20 °C

Following our lonely ‘expedition’ deep into the Amazon jungle we have climbed a tortuous route back into the high Andes and we realise that anyone reading this sentence might think that our travels are both dangerous and exhausting. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although the Amazon rainforest is classified as the most deadly place on earth because of giant anacondas, ferocious jaguars, piranhas and dozens of poisonous snakes, insects and frogs, we came away completely unscathed with some fabulous photos of the flora and fauna…
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Once we had left the steamy jungle we quickly rose into the clouds and saw little of the mountains until we arrived at our hotel in the hot spring resort of Banos. This touristy town lies in the shadow of an active volcano, Mount Tungurahua, and is a backpacker’s paradise; offering canyon zip-lining, bungee jumping, whitewater rafting and waterfall climbing among the numerous scary activities that we were unlikely to enjoy. However we did enjoy the sights, especially the numerous waterfalls…
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and the street where every shop is a confectionary. Hand made sweets of every kind are on sale along with glasses of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice…
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But we are sticking to our diets so we just admired the many laden fruit trees in the gardens of our expansive hotel….
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There were lemons, oranges, pomelos and avocados just ripe for picking, and we liked the fact that this time we were not alone – there were two other guests (we were told), although we never saw them. Tungurahua volcano proved equally elusive, with its head in the clouds all day. However, we are beginning to believe that there is a god of lucky travellers because, just before sunset, the clouds evaporated and gave us a grandstand view of the vapour plume spewing from the caldera…
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Tungurahua, is considered the most dangerous volcano in the world because of its unpredictability and the huge numbers of people who live within its striking distance. So, with that photo in the bag, we quickly set off higher into the Andes, and although many of the high passes took us into the clouds there were times when we could see for miles…

There is an astounding amount of production in the high mountains because of the temperate climate. Farmer’s fields stretch right to the peaks on near vertical slopes and have to be worked entirely by hand…
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Small towns and villages nestle in almost every cranny and from our lofty highway we could see them in miniature thousands of feet below us…
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Like its neighbour, Colombia, there is much in Ecuador that is familiar to anyone from Europe or North America, but occasionally we find ourselves thrown back a century or two by the sight of a laden donkey or an ox-plough. While young Ecuadorians would not seem out of place in Vancouver or London, the older country folk still wear traditional garb…
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Perhaps the most striking feature of the locals is their diminutive size – we are giants in this lofty land.

Posted by Hawkson 15:27 Archived in Ecuador

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Comments

What an adventure!!!

by Samchow58

More beauty. Thanks for this most wonderful of trips.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Sweet shop - that would be my destination.

by The Vickerage

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