I Know We Are Egregiously Behind. Sincerest (mostly) Apologies. I am posting this half finished and outdated and then handing the reigns to dad who will try to fill some more gaps. I hope its interesting J.
I started to write this note swinging in a hammock outside of my hotel room, which sat above a beautiful valley just outside of Vilcabamba, Ecuador. In the distance, you could hear the ever-present rooster crowing (an ambient sound we’ve grown to expect everywhere) and the occasional donkey braying (hilarious). Occasionally, a stray thunder roll. Mother Nature’s roll call. Bugs, bugs, bugs. Crazy new ones we’ve never seen and spiders you could put on a leash. I daily dip myself in sun block and Off and hope to both bask in nature while I repel it. Ha.
Tomorrow we head for the Peruvian border after a week and a half in Ecuador. On our way down from Quito, we stopped in Riobamba for one night and stayed in Cuenca for two. In Riobamba, we stayed in the Hotel Rio Roma, which, I’m happy to report, is a biker-friendly hotel. The owner, Julio, who is also a biker, gave us both a discount and great conversation.
We decided to stay for an extra day in Cuenca once we rode in and saw how lovely it was. Every time you think you’re tired of another colonial city you’re charmed by the next one. They become variations on a theme – so many similarities but of course, each reinterpreted by time and interests. We actually took a double-decker tour of the town and later wandered around until we found the hat museum. Panama hats, it turns out, are made in Ecuador. They’re really beautiful creations, so crisp and almost luminous. Not long after we found a bar on a corner in the Zona Rosa and watched the world pass for hours. Minus a bizarre five minutes where the street was flooded with high school kids circling up to egg on a fistfight between two classmates, it was a quiet, easing night.
And then, to Vilcabamba! We rode off into the mountains a bit out of the way to go to a sort of backpackers resort called Izhkayluma. It’s tucked up in a mountainside, blanketed in a green that seems to grow while you watch. The place is decked out in hammocks and views and offers spa services for twelve bucks. It’s really pretty fantastic. Best of all, we met some great people. Two of which were Janice and Pauline, who had left their home in Ireland last year and flew to Santiago where they bought bikes and went out for an adventure with no substantial riding experience and very little Spanish. Really impressive women who just decided to go have an adventure and made it happen. We were sorely tempted to stick around for their St Patrick’s Day celebration, but time is beginning to weigh on our goals so we suited up and made a rainy departure.