I was looking at the stars on a dark clear night here with the dark mountains black against the sky, and my app told me that in addition to Saturn (!) and the Milky Way, I was looking at Vega, Antares, Altair. I was reminded of the Blur song, Far Out, and I was happy!
Vilcabamba is a town about 7 hours south of Cuenca, and it’s thought to sustain long life in its inhabitants – in the ’50s there were many residents over 100 years old. As a result there is a large (mostly American) expat community here, and marginally more ‘hippie’ vibes – meditation and yoga can quite easily be found here. It’s either something in the water or the spring-like climate, which is certainly the most pleasant I’ve encountered in Ecuador! So nice to feel the sun on my skin and actually be warm.
The ‘hostel’ is more like a resort, with a small pool and restaurant and (over-my-budget) massages offered. As such it turns out it’s more a couples and families type place, so when I first arrived I was pretty much alone in the cosy dorm, and I thought once again that I needed to resign myself to solitary activities. 😦 Plus I had a decision to make from here about how to cross my first land border into Peru, and I had been hoping to find more travellers to tackle that with! Especially because the closest border here, through a town called Zumba, is very quiet, complicated and not commonly used. Cue unease.
However! Over the next two days, three more lovely solo travellers arrived and, joy of joys, they were all heading into Peru! So I settled on a plan with them to go back up to Loja and take the simple nightbus to Piura in Peru, giving me a few days in these lovely surroundings to just relax! Hurray! So the next day I went for a short hike in the surrounding countryside with a German guy, and had a quick look around the tiny town.