At 9 am some of us met up with Giovanny and, despite the rain, we decided to hike the mountain. It's only about 2,000 metres above sea level but I sure felt the altitude. Bellevista was our first stop on a muddy, steep path and it sits at 3,300 metres. Next we hiked along a road (uphill) to a hotel where the views are magnificent, again, despite the rain and clouds. More muddy paths down hill now and some up hill and we came upon a cow tethered to a tree. Further along, the path splits and we took the uphill path to visit the virgin Mary. After enjoying the views there we descended over 500 steps to another muddy path into the village. I've never been so happy to walk on even ground. Susan and I discovered we'd both done the Inca trail and had decided once was enough. Yet, we seem to find some mountain that needs climbing on every trip. What's up with that??
After quickly cleaning up, Susan joined us and we walked to the market for a local lunch, a plate full of food for $2.50 which we devoured.
We had an hour to kill so rather than just sit and have a coffee we decided to torture ourselves further with more walking. At the bridge we watched a few bungy jumpers and enjoyed the view.
Back at the hotel, we picked up Cindy and headed to the spa. Wow. First we changed into swimsuits and got in a steam box. They closed it up and only my head was outside and my body got thoroughly steamed. With sweat pouring off my face she opened it up and hosed me down with COLD water. OOOH. Back in the steam box. Sweat. Next she opened it up and I got out and had to immerse myself in an ice cold bath. OOOOh. Again into the steam box. Sweat. Next time I had to sit in ice cold water and she poured a bucket over my head. By this time, I looked forward to the cold water. It actually felt GOOD. Back in the steam box one more time, then out into a cold shower. Next I met Mike and Susan in the warm jet tub where we were given a lovely fruit juice.
One by one we were taken for our hour long massage. Oh my. She worked all the kinks out of my tired leg muscles and even got rid of the crick in my neck. Next two women covered my entire body in chocolate and even fed me some. I had no idea what was going on as my eyes had been covered since the facial. She wrapped me in plastic and I don't know how long I laid there as I may have fallen asleep.
After a shower we were all given yogurt and fruit. What an awesome afternoon! Mike loved it too. I have no idea what those 3 hours would be worth at home but here in Banos it was $50.
Another walk back to the hotel and we met the others for dinner. The restaurant was nice but it took an hour to get our food and some of us thought the market sounded pretty good. When I finally got it, my trout was delicious and yes, Mike had steak AGAIN,