Friday, March 30, 2012

Vilcabamba, Ecuador Trip - Part 2

After we got to our hotel, we decided to take a walk downtown.  It took us about 15 minutes and here are some pics from our walk:

Bienvenido A Vilcabamba!!  (Welcome to Vilcabamba)

Beautiful Mountains Everywhere!

I loved the look of these wooden doors.

Church in the Main Square

Carol sitting on the steps of the church

George, Me & Pat in front of the park

Park in Town

Another View of Park

George's Taxi Ride to Town

There were a few beggars in town

This dog was one of the worst beggars, but she was just SO hungry.  How could we resist that face?

Here are some pictures of Brian O'Leary's place.  It was really beautiful and it sat up on the side of the mountain with great views all around.

The building in the back is a hotel where you can stay.  The truck in front is what they use as taxi cabs in Vilcabamba.  After the cab driver took us up to Brian O'Leary's place, we understood why they need to use diesel trucks.  The roads are very muddy and somewhat steep.  The rooms that we saw in the hotel were very nice.

Fabulous views!!

Beautiful flowers and gardens were all around

Then on the way back to town, the taxi driver took us into a beautiful development (I can't remember the name of it) where he said mostly Germans and French lived.  Here are a few shots:

Look at this beautiful house

Common Area

Small ponies grazing next to the common area

Hot Tub in the Common Area

Awesome Pool with Unbelievable Views!  Makes you wonder why no one was in the pool, although it was the middle of the day in the middle of the week, so maybe the owners were working.

All in all, we had a wonderful time and look forward to returning in the future.  We would definitely recommend staying at Madre Tierra.  We also decided that when we do go back, we will stay for more than 3 days.  This time we left on a Monday and returned on Wednesday.  We think we would stay at least until Friday the next time.  That was a pretty rugged ride for such a short trip.  On our return trip, we took one of the Vilcabamba "taxi cabs" (which is really a diesel truck) instead of the bus.  It was still alittle bit rough, but it was much better than the bus.  But it was also more expensive.  The bus ride was $7.50 for each of us from Cuenca to Loja.  Then the taxi ride from Loja to Vilcabamba cost $15.00 for all of us (for a total of $45.00) and our return trip cost us $100.00 for all of us.  So we paid almost twice as much coming back, but it was much more comfortable and we could stop when we wanted.

Thanks to George and Carol for a wonderful trip!!  Sue and Pat

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vilcabamba, Ecuador Trip

Ever since we moved to Ecuador (it has almost been a whole year), Pat has wanted us to visit Vilcabamba, Ecuador (also known as the Valley of Longevity because people tend to live longer there).  We decided after we returned from the States after the first of year that we would try to see more of Ecuador.

So last week, we took a bus ride to Vilcabamba with George and Carol Evans (from CA Kitchen).  We started on a bus (Viaje Lines) from Cuenca to Loja.  It was supposed to take about 4 1/2 hours.  Well we arrived in Loja in just 3 1/2 hours.  Our driver practically flew through the mountains and unfortunately, my stomach paid the price.  All of us were feeling a little queasy, but I went a step further and actually got sick.  I think that trip has determined that we might be better off if we did not take bus trips a long distance.  When we arrived in Loja, we called a guy with a taxi and he picked us up in Loja and took us to Vilcabamba.

We stayed at a wonderful place called Madre Tierra.  Here are some wonderful pictures:

These are some shots from our covered terrace.

Banana Trees from our deck

From our deck you can see the dining area by the lobby.  Also check out the poinsettia tree.

Here is another shot of that poinsettia tree.  It rained most of the time that we were there, but the morning that we were leaving the sun came out and this tree was covered with different kinds of butterflies.

All of the decks had hammocks and as you can see, Pat was really enjoying himself.

And this is what he had to force himself to look at.

This is what it looked like on the last day when the sun came out.  Absolutely gorgeous!!

This was a shot further up the mountain from some of the other rooms at the hotel.  Lots of vegetation.

As we headed up the mountain of the hotel, there was a group of wild hens and baby chicks.  I don't know if you can see the wild hen in the middle of the picture.  They didn't want to have anything to do with us.

There are fruit trees all over the place, especially lime trees.  George told us that the last time they stayed there, he and Jimmy ordered a drink that needed a lime and one of boys climbed up in one of the trees and picked it fresh to use in their drinks.

These were the steps up to the other rooms.  It definitely felt like we were in the middle of the jungle.

One of the other rooms up the mountain.  Very private.

View from the top

   We had a wonderful few days there.  Pat and I taught George and Carol how to play "Uno" (the card game) and we had a blast.  We also took a taxi and visited Brian O'Leary's house (he used to be an American astronaut who moved to Vilcabamba several years ago).  He also would hold conferences about UFO's.  I think he passed away last June.  I think I will post a separate post tomorrow with pictures of his place and "downtown" Vilcabamba.  But before I go, I wanted to post a picture of Apollo (a cat that lives at Madre Tierra).

Carol, Pat & George

Carol, Me & George

He had one golden eye and one blue eye.  He was very sweet.

He was also a little scavenger who would eat whatever we gave him.

Here is a picture of George and Peter (one of the owners of Madre Tierra)

Look for my next post on the rest of our trip.  Beautiful country!!