We stayed in new town in Quito which was a pretty cool area with plenty of restaurants and bars. Our first day was spent settling in and walking around old town. We also figured out what we would do for the two following days before leaving for our amazon tour.
We decided on a tour of the Ottovalo markets which suited us perfectly as we do love a bit of a shop! The markets were pretty cool and consisted of leather goods, clothing, bags and crafts.
Cotopaxi volcano is said to be the 2nd biggest active volcano in the world- so we decided to ride down it.
Seemed a good idea at the time but once we reached the highest point accessible by 4WD at 4,500m with freezing temperatures, gale force winds, vertical gravel path down and mountain bikes and being seriously underdressed we were starting to think this looks alot like another stupid decision sal and I have become great at making! Struggling to hear the guides instructions over the blasting winds, and trying not to literally be blown off the side of the cliff we were given a mountain bike and asked to test it out. Sure. Getting on the damn thing without being blown off was half the battle let alone try and ride close to this cliff face. It felt like San Pedro all over again!
Having 'practiced' for a few minutes (and travelled maybe 2 meters) we were ready to leave, when dad stacks it landing on the ground under the bike. Appropriately dressed in his shorts and now feeling sore, cold and sorry for himself, being the responsible daughters that we are tell him to get back into the van and wait until we're down a bit further before riding. So sal hopped back in with dad and laurz and I were left looking at eachother wondering what we had got our selves In for. This was comforted by the fact that our guide was telling us don't brake to hard or you will fall. Don't hold the front brake too hard or you will fall. Don't turn too tight or you will fall. Keep your eyes ahead of you or you will fall. Don't try and turn your head or you will fall. Great. Seems like we are going to fall!! So we start descending holding as hard onto the brakes as humanly possible trying to remember which is the front brake because its opposite over here and trying not to skid out.
The first 7kms consisted of us being absolutely freezing, not being able to feel our fingers but having to hold the brakes tightly, trying to control a bike that is getting blown in different directions and with the back wheels constantly skidding out from under us. But not being able to turn my head to see if Laura was okay behind me..nor being able to hear her over the wind.
After a while laurz had to swap with sal cos she couldn't hold the brake on any longer. With small hands, hard brakes and freezing conditions it was really painful trying to hold the brakes on.
We finally made it to a flatter section out of the heavy winds and laurz and dad got back on their bikes and we started the mountain biking part through grass, sand, rocks and water. This was much more fun!
We stopped for lunch at a picnic area and then continued until we reached the bitchomen road. This was the fun part- for the next 18 km's we had perfectly paved roads winding steeply down to the bottom. Racing eachother to the bottom with no brakes on I have never gone this fast in my life and was just hoping that there wouldn't be a random divet in the road or I would probably die! We all raced eachother to the bottom! It was great fun.
We grabbed ice poles, played with a little puppie and hopped into the van to go back to Quito. Unfortunately we had another lady join us who had come off her bike in another group and grazed her face so we drove her back to Quito and put her in a cab to the hospital. It's no suprise it happened because she came off at the very beginning where it was the most difficult.
All in all it was a pretty good day and we went back to our hotel to pack our bags for our amazon trip the next day!