….heading back up to the hills
Day 6; Piñas to Vilcabamba. 230Km/142m
To catch up with the story so far; click Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 & Day 5
Hosteria Florecer is fabulous, that is all!
Actually, that is not all. I can highly recommend this place for the views, the welcome, the delicious meal that was cooked for us and the general feel of being welcome friends as opposed to paying guests 🙂
We greatly appreciated the lovely meal and enjoyed beer and wine, which the owner’s son went off in to town to buy after we had asked if there was any! They didn’t say, “no, sorry” – they made sure we got what we asked for. The owner’s wife was the cook and a fabulous one at that. She rustled up a delicious chicken meal with a lovely plantain and vegetable side dish – just wonderful.
After dinner, we and two other guests, joined the owners around an open fire and enjoyed conversation in both broken Spanish and broken English, depending on who was speaking! Thoroughly enjoyable evening.
The room itself was basic but functional. No frills but all that we needed! We also made couple of new friends…..
In the morning we were excited to see that the fog that had obliterated the view the evening before had lifted completely and the wonderful views were there for us to enjoy!
After a leisurely breakfast and a short stroll, we kitted up and got ready to roll again.
I could quite happily have just set up station in this hammock and stayed the day.
Little did we realize what a wonderful day we had in store!
We actually hit a bit of a hiccup, not more than 20 seconds after we left the Hosteria. I’ve talked before about the random cows that are in the road. Well, as were rolling out of the driveway we met this rather feisty bullock. Initially he looked as if he was going to be aggressive and as we rode towards him, he stood his ground and even appeared as if he was going to butt us! Hmmm….we stopped, blasted the horn a bit but still he stared us down. No doubt about it, if he had decided to charge, we would have gone down 🙁
Eventually, Iain just throttled up and went for it, as you can see – we won!
Well; apparently you can’t see because I can’t upload the video! I will try to add it later 🙂
The route started by taking us back down through the town, easily done this time with no GPS disasters, we gathered that as long as we were going down then we must be heading in the generally right direction! These shots don’t do justice to how steep the roads were! Iain decided, for the better part of valor, that it would be best to roll through the stop signs and pray that Sunday was a low traffic morning as it was easier to do that than balance everything at the angle!
Safely down we rolled on out of town and set off on our way…..
Back out on the open road we rolled up, down and round for mile upon mile of enjoyable riding road. This was by far the most pleasurable ride yet and I want to encourage you all to get down here and experience it!
We stopped in a café that was quite literally just plonked in the middle of nowhere! Easy off/on point so, seeing as we’re near perfection at that game now, we took advantage and stopped for “dos cafés con leche y dos agua por favor” – get me, I’m almost fluent!!
There we sat, enjoying the warmth of the day and the marvelous view, reliving the thrill of the ride, when along came a medium sized car that pulled up, presumably to enjoy a break and some drinks also. I’ve never seen so many people pour out of a vehicle, aside from back when I was a kid and went to the circus! Out came this family, one after the other, after the other. From Grandpa down to a little girl who fairly flew out, excited to be free! Well I guess the thrill of the roller coaster roads and being in a confined space was all too much for Grandpa – he made a beeline for the bathroom and proceeded to revisit his breakfast in a none too quiet fashion! As he then proceeded to revisit last night’s dinner and whatever the hec else he had eaten over the past few days I was supremely thankful that I hadn’t eaten as the noise emanating from his closet would have sent me running for the bathroom too!
We finished off our drinks and I enjoyed a one-sided conversation with the proprietress, I obviously had her fooled with my previously fluent Spanish! I must have nodded in all the right places and smiled appropriately as she seemed quite happy with me. As we walked away, Iain said, “you have no clue what that was about do you?” Correct, I could have just agreed that I’d stolen the crown jewels for all I know, but the lady was happy and that’s all that mattered!
Back on the road we continued on this wondrous ride. Following the road as it wound up and twisted down. We were having a blast. We rolled through towns, waved at locals and generally had a brilliant time.
We hit 5000ft in elevation and also some unexpected wind blasts. At one point, Iain exclaimed, “we’re on top of the world”! Unfortunately, that was quickly followed by a blast of wind that made him say “let’s stay on the top of the world and not get blown off!”
Not wishing to stress the family overly, but there were a few moments when I did wonder if we were going to be blown straight off the side of the mountain!
Wind gusts aside, we stayed on track and carried on our route. Iain has become a tad “Ecuadorian” in that he wants to be the leader now (see Day 4) and he confidently breezed past anyone who dared to be in front of us! We rode through changing landscapes, starting in lush green, almost tropical foliage, continuing through dry arid desert, and ending back into green forest mountain back roads.
We came upon a bustling market in Cararango and were the entertainment for the small kids, young men and several older folks as we patiently bided our time for traffic to clear. Many waves and smiles were exchanged!
We ended our A.Mazing day in the town of Vilcabamba and at the award winning resort and spa of Madre Tierra, looking out over the Mandango Mountain or “The Sleeping Inca” as it is known! What a wonderful place. I could quite happily just set up camp here and stay a good long while! After checking in and dropping the bags, we made a beeline for the pool – stopping for a beer and a glass of wine along the way of course 😉
Apparently the population of Vilcabamba is known to live very long lives and the women are said to be the most beautiful in Ecuador!
We were in our (very) happy place ~ however, one thing that does trouble me as I sit here updating you all and sipping on some superb Chilean wine; a while ago I commented on the dogs and how they are everywhere. All over the roads, barking at and/or chasing the bike. I recall commenting to Iain that as much as we see the dogs in the road, constantly, they must have good self preservation as we never see a dead or injured dog. Today I saw 4 dead dogs at the side of the road. I feel responsible. It’s almost as if I called doom upon these poor dogs, happily going about their day, wandering in and out of the road, not hurting anyone, just randomly popping up in front of cars.
I’m sorry dogs 🙁
Caveat; for the last two hours as I’ve been typing, all I can hear is bark, bark , bark ~ maybe they need to just stop 🙁