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Quirky restaurant in Vilcabamba yesterday

Vilcabamba and Loja


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Edit from January 2019: Shanta's Bar still seems to be going strong!

I left Vilcabamba this morning and am now killing time at Loja bus terminal before I go on to the airport at Catamayo for my flight to Quito.

For dinner last night in Vilcabamba I had some pizza at the quirky Shanta's Bar. The place was filled with decorations and souvenirs; some hung from the ceiling, others were nailed to pillars and the side of the bar top, others stood on the bar or were stuck to the walls. These decorations and souvenirs included; starfish, small animal skulls, coins, banknotes (mainly US dollars, but there was a 10 Real note from Brazil and a 1 Lempira note from Honduras), handwritten notes from customers from around the world (Dutch, English, Thai, Russian, Arabic), old black and white photos, a giant dreamcatcher, a gigantic white candle that had clearly been burning for months if not years, a bowl of cacao pods, cacti in pots, a colourful wooden bird mask, lots of cowboy hats woven from straw or reeds, a big tarnished metal bell, sets of panpipes, very wide dried leaves, curled-up whips, a guitar, curved colourful wooden medallions hung on strings from a piece of wood, machetes, a two-man log saw, a poster showing a set of nine men with extremely elaborate curly moustaches, a thermometer and a wooden engraving of a rodeo rider on his horse.

On the kitchen door, which was behind the bar, there was a silver cross; next to the bar there were bar stools made of wooden posts, each with an old-fashioned saddle on top. Moths fluttered around the lights and the barman/waiter had a cowboy hat and a large curly moustache.

Unfortunately none of my photos of the place turned out very well:

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Posted by 3Traveller 12:58 Archived in Ecuador Tagged ecuador vilcabamba loja Comments (0)

Vilcabamba

Loja and Vilcabamba


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On Tuesday morning, a walk to the bronze statue of La Virgen at the top of a little hill in Loja and a look inside the cathedral was followed by a bus journey to a village called Vilcabamba.

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Vilcabamba is quite touristy, a contrast to Loja which is not particularly touristy for such a cultured and (in places) historic city. A few decades ago Vilcabamba became known for its unusually large amount of centenarians; due to this, plus the extremely pleasant climate and beautiful scenery, lots of hippies then moved in. Although nowadays the number of centenarians is no higher there than anywhere else, Vilcabamba still remains known throughout the country for the longevity of its people. Several students have mentioned this to me, totally unprompted. There also remains a distinct New Age vibe.

I fly to Quito tomorrow. Over the last couple of days in Vilcabamba, I have;

- been on some lovely walks in the local countryside. The setting of Vilcabamba really is stunning.

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- relaxed and not done very much. The hostel I'm staying in (Le Rendez-Vous Hostal Guesthouse) has a lovely courtyard filled with greenery and colourful flowers. It also offers great homemade bread at breakfast.

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- looked inside the modern but still beautiful church in the main square

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- applied for two teaching jobs starting in September; one in Krakow, Poland, and one in Tenerife
- had quinoa soup for the first time in Ecuador
- been told by the American owner of the café where I had the quinoa soup that the idea that unpasteurised milk is dangerous is not in fact true and is something that 'the mainstream' would have me believe...

Posted by 3Traveller 12:09 Archived in Ecuador Tagged hostel butterflies andes ecuador vilcabamba explorations ecuadorian_cuisine loja Comments (0)

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