When our German friends wake us up, soon in the morning, we begin the travel from Vilcabamba towards the frontier between Ecuador and Peru. Our route, passing through the village of Zumba, follows an off the beaten track. After a pass that dominates the valley of Vilcabamba, we begin a long descent through the mountain jungle of the Podocarpus National Park. The bus makes frequent stops, often in ghost villages, but there are always people who wait for our arrival; shortly we are swept up by a mass of people, goods and animals. After approximately 6 hours of travel we reach Zumba, the first half of our itinerary. Nearly 2 hours of camioneta separate us from the Peruvian border, but a bridge swept in a blaze by the river forces us to wade: the adventure gets more and more interesting! It’s already evening when we get our passports stamped, by the international bridge of La Balsa. 2 more hours of colectivo (dispelling any doubts of other travelers: 12 soles, negotiable till 10) and we arrive in San Ignacio, tired but happy… We leave Ecuador, a very small Latin American country that has given us many unforgettable experiences and the hope that there can be a future, when people have the courage to fight for their own rights. Now Peru, a giant for beauty and history, the crib of the Inca civilization.
After a short staying in Cuenca, third city of Ecuador and famous for its university, we go on with our travel that is everytime more nomadic and itinerant. Now our goal is Vilcabamba, a very small pueblo next to the Southern border with Peru. The mystery which wraps this village from the eternally vernal climate, it’s the longevity of its inhabitants. Effectively we are astonished to meet so many old and brilliant men, but as the record of Vilcabamba is on everyone’s lips, probably many people declare more years of their actual age… Meanwhile we spend a nice Sunday with music and “malabarismo” (juggling) performances, by the group of artists Pacha Feria.