Papallacta, a sit and a soak.

Otavalo was such a huge success, Aja and I decided to venture once more beyond the city; this time heading east to the small village of Papallacta where we could sit and soak in thermal hot springs.

Ever the budget travelers, we were determined to take public transit and so with day packs packed, we headed out at 7am to catch the Ecovia and ride it to its last stop, Terminal Quitumbe.  Fortunately, all the transit buses run north/south = simple to navigate.

Terminal Quitumbe–it was like walking into an international airport in France.  Woah.  Super unexpected, and at 8am, super quiet.  We were the first ones on our bus and the conductor quickly admonished not to put our mochilas (backpacks) anywhere but in our laps.  He pointed out the window at a man angrily talking to security outside as verification.  Yup, he had just been robbed.

Our instructions said to be let out before town, whatever that meant.  The bus let us out right next to a big sign for the Papallacta Thermals.  It said 2km and pointed up a big hill.  And up we went.

The thermals were lovely, we sat in hot water and soaked blissfully.  But truly, the walk up the green valley and back down was the highlight of the trip.  Think Fern Gully.  We talked to cows, dogs barked at us, kids smiled, an Irish kid stopped to see if we wanted a lift (he was going the other way unfortunately), and we breathed heavenly mountain air.

The ride back into Quito was through a monstrous thunderstorm.  Streets flooded, cars stopped, lightening touching down everywhere, several power outtages, even hale.  Our bus was a tank and, except for some rain drops on my knee, we could barely tell it was storming.

Only got one picture but fortunately it’s a green one.

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