I have this habit of falling in love with a picture on the Internet, then becoming obsessed with going to that destination.
The first time this happened was with a National Geographic picture of Angkor Wat. I was lucky enough to visit the exact place where the picture was taken, and sure enough it was even more amazing in person.
It happened again when I visited Banos.
We took the 4 hour bus ride from Quito to Banos and checked into our hostel, the Princesa Maria. Like after every trip we were starving, and decided to eat llapingachos at a stall in the market.
Meat with a fried egg, rice, salad, beets avocado and delicious fried potato cakes all for $2.50.
After that, we took the dollar bus up the mountain to La Casa del Arbol, where I was able to “swing at the end of the world”.
After taking turns on the swing, we headed to get the last bus to Banos as the fog rolled in. It started to get a little chilly, and a man was sitting outside his restaurant asking us if we wanted hot chocolate.
It was the most delicious chocolate I have had in a long time. It was so unique and had a creamy texture but without the heaviness of milk. It warmed me up before we took the ride back down the mountain.
I saw a picture of Banos on the Internet a few years ago, and as with any epic picture, I figured I would never get a chance to go there.
I think what I’ve learned from my travels is that the world is a small place full of big surprises. I never thought I would go to the Great Wall of China, and I ended up climbing it twice. I never thought I would see my mother’s country, and here I am sitting in the warmth of it’s sun.