Today we traveled just about 170 miles to Zaruma. We traveled through banana groves, cacao groves, and an interesting mix of mountains and flat lands. At one point there were large shade trees that remind me of ones I have seen in photos of Africa. The tree tops had a large circumference, but they were relatively flat on top.
I was looking forward to the ride today because we passed through a protected forest and an ecological reserve. I was hoping to see lots of birds and flowers. Apparently the orchids aren’t blooming this time of year, and we have seen very little wildlife on this trip. The temperature was comfortable though & the ride was easy. It took us about 6 hours to get to Zaruma.
Once we arrived, we checked into Roland Hotel, changed into shorts & headed out to walk the town. This hotel is clean & simple. It has a huge amount of steps. We carried our luggage quite a ways to get to our room. I was wishing we had packed a bit lighter! The climate here isn’t dry, but it is not humid like the coast. I have been trying to dry my swimming suit for days. In Quito & Canoa it was just too humid to dry clothes in a reasonable time so we have been carrying around bags of wet clothes. I hung them up here & finally made some progress in drying them out.
The roads in Zaruma were narrow with steep hills. The people were exceptionally friendly & there is a lot of great architecture here. The buildings are close together, with small passages in between & steep drop offs everywhere.
We planned to eat dinner at 500 Milas restaurant, but they were closed. We ended up getting an amazing pizza from the restaurant Romeria. After dinner we all hung around the pool for quite a while. Once Rob & Staci went to bed, Shawn stacked chairs in front of their door so they would have a noisy surprise in the morning & we headed to the restaurant next door for a drink. I am pretty sure we were the only people at our hotel, & there were only a couple other people at the restaurant. Other than the nearly constant dogs barking, Zaruma is a quiet little town with an amazing view. I was wishing I had packed ear plugs after waking up for the 10th time to dog barking. We headed to bed, looking forward to visiting a gold mine in the morning before riding on to Vilcabamba.