Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The drive to Chugchilan

We left Riobamba at about 7:15am for the drive to Chugchilan.  On the way to collect the bags after breakfast, Nic spotted that there was a Liverpool -v- Man Utd match showing in reception and was most disappointed that he couldn't stop to watch it.  We looked up the result later though and he was just about satisfied with the one all draw.

Cotapaxi volcano

The first part of the drive was a good one as we passed a number of mountains and volcanoes, including Cotapaxi.

We stopped off in a small town and went to the market for our lunch.  Shanyn and Ben had got quite excited as they thought they had seen chicken schnitzels being cooked, and a number of us had agreed this sounded good, but when we got there we discovered that they were just deep fried dough.

As we arrived at the market, we were greeted by the sight of a cow's head, and a dog eating the innards of some small animal.  Once we were in the market, we could see the various meals being prepared, including pigs' heads, and big pots with whole (except for their heads) chickens or other various other pieces of meat inside.  From the looks of the many discarded bits of skull on the ground, some of the pots probably contained whole sheep's heads!

I decided to stick to one of the fried dough things with sugar on, which was actually quite tasty, and a bread thing that was pretending to be a pain au chocolat.  Nic was bolder and sat down at one of the tables for his lunch.  He was expecting just a plate of rice and chicken, but got a plate of rice, salad and egg, plus a bowl of soup with a big chunk of chicken in it.  He enjoyed it.

Quilotoa crater

There was still some way to go to Chugchilan so Nic and I attempted to play bananagrams again, but soon had to give up as the journey became so bumpy that the tiles would slide everywhere and jump off the table.

We stopped off at the Quilotoa crater that was the starting point for some people to do a hike the next day if they wanted to.  It was a good view into the crater, but having now seen it, Nic and I weren't especially disposed to walk for three hours the next day.
Hairy drive round the Quilotoa Loop

The last part of the journey to the hotel was a bit hairy at times.  We were once again winding our way around the edge of the moutains and hills with very little space to spare and a sheer drop at the side.  Izzy again did a great job of the drive and we coped with passing some rather large vehicles coming the opposite way at most inopportune moments!

dancing traditional style
Chugchilan is a tiny town, with no more than a few little shops, so basically we had some time to relax, try to upload some photos (without success), and play more games.  We did have the dubious pleasure of a few of the local kids coming to do a tradional dance for us.  Those who know me won't be surprised that I declined to join them.

TJ had previously extolled the game of bananagrams and challenged us to a match. The three of us were joined by Leon, and the peeling soon began again.  TJ is most competitive, and after having played seven games, with Nic or I winning all of the them, he decided to quit.  Leon was not so faint-hearted and carried on to achive his first peel.  It is an understatement to say he was pleased!

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