We all gave each other a victorious smile when we got off at our final destination after dark, after two exhausting days on the road. Having decided that we would check in the eco-lodge 2km outside the town the next day, we checked in a hostel in the center of the town for the night.
“Yes, we need celebratory drinks and good food!” we all cheered when the lady at the reception recommended a family run pizzeria whose owner is a jolly 89 year old Italian lady. That night, we laughed with our new friends, told more stories about our lives and listened to the secrets of a long healthy life from Mama Silvia.
Vilcabamba has long been attracting gringos or alike for its slow pace of life with local habitants that are believed to enjoy the longest life expectancy on the continent. Whether or not this is true, with the temperatures constantly around 25’C all year around, water being supplied from pure mountain springs and plenty health and natural stores sure do help to add a few more better years to one’s old age.
We all had different plans for how long we would stay in Vilcabamba. Lisa, Marius and Jorn (The Germans) were going to hang around for 5 days visiting their friend Julia, fellow German girl from Cologne, who originally was also a long term traveller but then decided to settle in Vilcabamba a year and half ago. She now owns a health shop and a organic garden selling fresh produce in the town. More on that a bit later..
Cassandra (our American friend) only planned for a couple days stay and Ian & I were thinking 3 days maximum as we had less than three weeks until we had to catch our flight in another country.
However all these plans changed within two days of arriving in this stunningly beautiful small village in the lower Andes of Southern Ecuador. The Germans and Cassandra decided to join us in the eco-lodge cabin we rented and we all ended up staying for 10 days!
Now, sit back, have a nice of cuppa in your hand and enjoy the ride with us while we show you what travelling really means to us.
As we shared on our “About Us” page on this site, we set off for our dream trip about 5 months ago with one thing in mind; discovering new cultures, meeting new people and let them decide where the journey will take us next. We had been meeting some wonderful people along the way like the ones in Capilla del Monte, that left us so astounded by the fact that a bunch of total strangers can become so close to you in such a short time that they almost feel like family in the end.
So, we all extended our stay sharing a remote cabin in the eco-lodge by a river on a side of a mountain for the next 10 days even though we all were almost at the end of our South America trip and extending our stay meant skipping some of the places we’d originally planned for the rest of it. At that time, in that moment, nothing else really mattered except the good company of beautiful people.
During those 10 miraculous days we cooked and shared the most amazing vegetarian food,
Went horse riding,
Helped out with the weeding, harvesting and planting of vegetables in Julia’s organic garden,
And shared our future plans and dreams with each other.
Our impression of the town itself was a bit of a mixed one. It’s a beautiful small hippie town whose residents mostly engage themselves with spiritual activities but it sometimes feels overcrowded with old American ex-pats who seem to be enjoying their retirement years gathering around cafes chatting mostly with other American ex-pats so the segregation between them and the locals are pretty obvious.
Not knowing who we’ll meet or what we’ll experience are two of the major driving forces behind our desire for long term travel. Some places feel as if we lived there all our lives, some just don’t. But what makes those places so special is not only because of their exquisite surroundings but the time we shared with other people while we were there. In that respect, in Vilcabamba, we were so lucky to have both; gaining life time friends in such a beautiful setting.
The moments we cherish the most are the ones we spend with those who make it memorable. As we continue our journey, we starve for more…