Today I found… gringos?!? Yep. Lots of them!!
The day started leaving the nice and increadibly long Loja. I really liked that city. Small but nice, keeps that town feeling. There aren’t huge things to visit there (even though you’ve got lots of statues and alikes) but it’s a nice place to live (the central park area, all those parks and sport courts, the rivers, the markets…).
The beginning of the day was upwards. It felt pretty easy though. It’s really nice there also: another green and clean valley where cycling feels great. The long downhill feels great also!!! You cycle watching those high mountains of the nearby natural park (the entrance is at the first top of the day, by the way; entry is free). Just great!!
There’re lots of towns (El Porvenir and some others whose names can’t remember now), but the first main one is Malacatos. Is a nice town, but you already start to feel there what’s to come: lots of condos owned by foreigners. Surprise!! Signs written in German and English can be found in lots of them too.
That became even more obvious in Vilcabamba. What a strange town. It’s a small and nice town invaded by foreigners. From hippy-style travelers to rich families. I didn’t really like it to be honest. Feels… artificial, unnatural? Don’t know. Lots of condos and expensive housing in the surrounding areas. Bars, shops… Everything has a “gringo feeling” to it, no matter there’s lots of italians, argentinians, chileans and some others there.
The greatest change (amongst things that mattered mlre to me) was maybe the landscape. First everything turns a little bit more yellow-ish. I guess it’s the altitude. And then trees dissapear. Mountains show no tree at all. And they become higher (or maybe I was lower). But it is a different view; a great but different view. I’ve wondered during last few days if I’m still in the same country or if I change it every day… Also, I should count at some point how many valleys I have cycled through!!
In Yangana everything starts to go back to green and the trees show up again. I was thinking I’d need to camp that night… but no, there is some accomodation in Yangana. Not bad.
Bad will be the (long) uphill I’ll have to face next day, first thing in the morning. But don’t worry about what hasn’t happened yet…