Vilcabama - Land of Enchantment y Ecuador un pais tan diverso - Adios para ahora
As Andy’s Spanish teacher in Baños (Liz) so often says: “Imáginate…Oh meint godt”…(she also speaks English and German), Vilcambamba (about 1-hour south of Loja, Ecuador) is such a spectacular paradise…
A little catching up first….For our last day/night in Cuenca, we thought about taking a double-decker tour bus throughout the city, but it was rather expensive, so we opted to take a city bus to the area of the city called “Turi” which is situated up above the city. A great view of Cuenca and of course a great store to buy more stuff (we keep buying stuff…we are getting rid of stuff, so it more or less balances out…we think).
We said our “hasta luegos” at the book store, had lunch at Govanda’s and dinner at Leka’s - oh meint godt, the chocolate fondue with fruit was amazing!! A great last day, followed by a VERY LOUD night. The partying and music went on at the hostel until 4:00 am (“Imáginate…Oh meint godt”) and then talking in the courtyard until 5:30 am (“Imáginate…Oh meint godt”).
breakfast…said ‘adios’, and got a taxi to the Cuenca bus station. Sheer chaos to find the bus to Loja. I paid an attendant $22.50 for our tickets…then he returned the money and told me to pay on the bus. The bus took off (WOW - another baño on the bus) and thank goodness no movies were being played. The guy who collects the money came down the aisle and told us we needed to pay $30. "Que? Mande?" After asking someone else on the bus about the price, we confirmed the $7.50/person, but were also told that “la niña” should only be charged “el mitad” (half-price). So, we took our chances and only paid $26.25. It is so hard to know if we are being overcharged the “gringo price”.
And off we went, on the very windy Pan-American highway…south, south, south through such a wide variety of scenery. We arrived in Loja at about 2:00 pm, lugged the …still 200 lbs. of luggage down two flights of stairs and found the terminal for Vilcabamba. Got on a smaller bus and wound our way down the valley to Vilcabamba. About an hour later we arrived, and took a truck taxi
up to our hostel “Hosteria Izhcayluma”. Y “estamos aqui. Land of enchantment…this hostel is more like a hotel…a beautiful room, an amazing restaurant, a pool, pool table, ping pong, hand done laundry. We are paying $44/day for all of us, which includes an “all you can eat” breakfast buffet with amazing food. Each day crepes or scrambled eggs, fruit, home made bread, fresh juice, tea, coffee…WOW - WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
We met a family from Alaska (thank you again for the books!!!) who have done extensive travelling. We love meeting other families and sharing stories. We find it so inspirational and of course it reinforces what we are doing as a family.
On Sunday, March 14th, after our amazing breakfast, we said ‘adios’ to the family from Alaska, and headed off on one of several hikes. This was rated the ‘easiest’ and was a 3.5 hour hike. It followed a dirt road which turned into a trail along an irrigation/water canal..and indeed over 3-hours later and very hot and tired we entered Vilcabamba. Had a great late lunch, looked at lots of homemade crafty items (of course we purchased something!) and took a taxi back to the hostel.
On Monday, March 15th, we had yet another family adventure. After another amazing, incredible breakfast, we met our guide and went off for 2-hours of horse back riding. We told them we were beginners and Marleigh had her own private guide. We traversed the valley and had a wonderful time. Yes, you can bet that we’ll be sore tomorrow. (Heck, as of this posting -- some 5-days later (!!!) our tuchas's are still sore!!)As we’re not as relaxed as we can be, when the horses trotted and galloped along, we couldn’t help but get a bit tense…finally, the last ½ hour we started to relax. Marleigh is now all about horses and is begging us to take some lessons, or attend horse camp this summer. Oh my…what have we started! All kidding aside, we have started something quite wonderful indeed.
So - we leave this hostel and Vilcabamba on Tuesday, March 16th. We’ll stay one night in Loja, then take the 7:00 am crossing to Piura, Peru. We anticipate getting into Piura around 2:00 or 3:00 pm and will probably take another bus to Chiclayo.
So - soon, very soon, we bid ‘adios’ to Ecuador. We have
stayed longer than we’d planned…but certainly not as long as we’d like. We can hardly believe that we’ve got about 6-weeks left of our 4-month trip. The time has been flying by and we wish it would please slow down. Of course we miss our animals and have lots of obligations and responsibilities to return to. We couldn’t have put this trip together without the support of our family, our friends, Cascades Academy, COSTCO and DEQ allowing this to happen. We are grateful to you all and promise you all that if you all ever decide to put together an adventure for yourselves, we will do all we can to help you all out.
Hasta Luego a Ecuador y Bienvenidos a Peru…
POST SCRIPT - WE’RE NOW IN PERU. WOW - The bus ride to the border and our experiences to date do really contrast a lot with our experiences in Ecuador. How’s that for a teaser??? I won’t bore you with the details here…yet…but we’ll have another blog update soon, now that we’re relaxing at the beach in Huanchaco, Peru and have access to internet.
We are a family that currently resides in Central Oregon, on a small farm. Shari is 48 years young and works as a Natural Resource Specialist in the field of Solid Waste (Waste Prevention, Recycling, Composting). She enjoys music, reading, outdoor activities and sustainable living. Andy is 53 years young and works as a photographer, doing both free-lance work and as a photo-tech at COSTCO. He is also a person of many trades and skills, from car repair to cooking. He is an incredible guitar player and musician. Ansley is 14, and attends Cascades Academy of Central Oregon as a ninth grade... full info
The "Republic of the Equator" was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Colombia and Venezuela). Between 1904 and 1942, Ecuador lost territories in a series of conflicts with its neighbors. A b...more info