Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Scouting Trip: Loja and Vilcabamba
The trip from anywhere to anywhere in Ecuador is pretty short as the condor flies, but when taking a bus be sure to pack like you’re going away for a weekend: two meals, lots of water, empty bladder, pillow, and earplugs (unless you like Steven Seagal movies in Spanish at Space Shuttle launch decibels)
All of which has nothing to do with Loja and Vilcabamba, which we rode five hours on a bus to reach. I’m just sayin’.
I was interested in Vilcabamba and not Loja before we arrived in Ecaudor. Talking with people here, though, we were now going to look at Loja as a possible home (clean, environmental, musically inclined) and not Vilcabamba (small cow town with nothing really going on). But a day in Loja was enough to tell us that we weren’t interested. In short, just not the right vibe for us, though maybe our outlook was tainted by having spent several days in beautiful Cuenca.
We had half a day to kill before flying out to Quito, then, so scurried up to Vilcabamba, about 45 minutes away. Do you have to hear more than “Vilcabamba - Valley of Longevity” to have your interest piqued? Do you have to say more than Vilcabamba, for that matter? Besides ranking as the funnest name on our list (Jipijapa, said “hippy hoppa,” was not on the list), Vilcabamba has been a magnet to California hippies and Florida retirees for over three decades since Reader’s Digest did a piece on its mythical reputation for having the highest percentage of centenarians of any town in the world. Something about the water, fresh air, and trashcan diet.
So Loja’s out, and if we can figure out schooling, Vilcabamba’s top of the list.