Baños is a village in the Andes where I spent one weekend with a few friends from the language school. We took the waterfall tour, visited the “Casa del Arbol” with the swing and did “Puenting” (from “puenta” — bridge). It’s like bungee jumping but the rope is not elastic. It is fixed on the other side of the bridge and you then swing down.
During my stay in Quito and especially during the Spanish classes El Cotopaxi was omnipresent.
After my four weeks in the language school, I went for a guided 5-day-hiking tour through the Ecuadorian Andes to spend some more time in the shadow of this majestic giant.
Our group consisted of our Ecuadorian guide, the cook, a Canadian, two guys from Sweden (one Swedish, one British), and me. So the funny thing was: I could understand all of them, in English, Spanish or Swedish ;-). The three guys — all apparently successful business men, though in one case retired — were really friendly and interesting people. In the evenings they would share their stories about hiking to the North pole and heli skiing. I somewhat stuck out in that group, standing just at the beginning of my career and being… well… a woman. While camping that was quite annoying since they would all use the women’s bathroom because it said M (for mujeres — women) on the door.
During these five days I climbed two 4000m mountains (at rougly 4200m and 4700m, respectively) and went up to an altitude of 5000m on Cotopaxi (higher than all of Europe, yeah).
The others spent two more days and actually went for the summit of Cotopaxi. I had quarreled with myself for a long time but then decided that I’d rather have two more days on the Galapagos islands instead — and it was absolutely worth it.