Monday, November 18, 2013

A little here, a little there ... then back ...

Danny had a hankering to return to Vilcabamba. He found a really cool B&B/hostal on the side of the mountain just outside of town - just far enough that walking into town was not always an option. Again, as a followup to Danny's blog ...

This B&B/hostal, MontesueƱos, was the brain child of one of the US's first astronauts from the late 60's - the Mars' program. Never heard of it? I hadn't either but that is what his bio states. I even googled it: this is but one of the entries that turned up: His name? Dr. Brian O'Leary. You can read more here:'Leary'Leary A very eclectic place, one that requests quiet and relaxation of it's guest. The B&B itself is reminiscent of Gaudi's various works in Barcelona.
His life-long partner, wife, is an artist of different mediums and has utilized what is found in nature as well as scavenging to decorate. In the photo upper left, the open door on the main floor is the door to our room. 
From the overlooking patio, we had a perfect view of Mondango, the sleeping Inca.
We were far enough up the mountainside that we had an awesome 270' view of the valley spreading out before us. Behind us was the mountain.

We limited ourselves to four more days here as we probably would have continued to stay and spend the rest of our time in one place.

Packing our bags, looking fondly backward, our taxi took us down for the last time. We caught a bus for our next adventure. 

As we rode the bus north towards Cuenca, our stopping point for the night, we passed through one of the more traditional towns. It was a place worth visiting but without hotels near the bus stop we felt that we would not take the chance of having to ride standing up all the way to Cuenca once we got off the bus. The bus was full and people were standing, a very usual occurrence. 
 the old and the new - these are school students "hanging around" after school.

 The men wear "highwater" pants and the women  long skirts, both wear the felted hats. The sandals are interesting as well, as they are of the same making as centuries past, only with newer fibers. The clothes are mostly black, with legend saying it is because they are in mourning from the Conquistidors' arrival and the loss of their identity and culture. Modern anthropologists poo-poo this however.

And so we arrived back in Cuenca, 
our stopping point for the night and with a last minute decision to stop for a couple more days. We wanted to see a museum that we missed while here before.

Another tour bus ride: 
 we are becoming quite the "selfless" with our new smartphones

hidden treasures yet to be seen:

And more roasted pig:

A car trip to Cajas National Park for Danny. He tried to go by bus but couldn't find one that went at the time that he wanted. As he wanted a day trip, not an overnight trip, he needed to be able to get back and therein was the problem. The PanAmerican highway goes right through Cajas and larger trucks and vehicles travel mainly at night through it. It appears that buses are somewhat limited as well, at least the ones that woulds top and pick someone up in the park. So taxi it was ... 
 a wild beautiful place renown for it's hiking

We made it to the museum

and then on to the hat museum and shop. Here we found our hats to take home with us. In fact, they mailed them home for us.

 sewing Danny's hat band on to his new hat

Finally came the time to once again hit the road. One of the things that we had wanted to see was the large archeological park just NNW of Cuenca. Reservations were made and off we went ...