Throughout our trip, we’ve made a point of balancing city and country. Keeps us both happy! So it only made sense after taking in the Bienal in Cuenca, taking some more spanish lessons and enjoying city life it was time to head for a sacred valley. Just the same pattern we did in Cusco when we headed out to Urubamba. This time, we headed down to Vilcabamba (literally means sacred valley in Quechua) about 5 hours south of Cuenca. Evidently, like Urubamba, it is place where the Incas stopped in their travels between Cusco and Quito. Nice lush spot they chose.
Vilcabamba’s other claim to fame is its reputation for longevity. In 1955, Reader’s Digest did a story on the high number of centenarians. Perhaps this article was what kicked off the influx of expats both young and old all searching for the fountain of youth. All of this searching is happening in a small town with what appears to be a robust local population. The combination made for great eaves-dropping and people watching, both of which we did plenty of while hanging out in the public square.
Each day, we headed out for a hike – some more successful than others…. We took the “Ridge Hike” one day, which Bill has renamed the “Ridge of Death”. There were a few spots that fell off percipitously from what was, at times, a very narrow “bridge” of crumbling soil. The next day, he went to the gym in town …. while I headed off on a hike up to a waterfall.
We are now back in Quito – relaxing before we head out to our final adventure in the Amazon.