Loja Travel Blog

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The next day was time to leave Cuenca, which I was well glad for after 5 nights there.  Cuenca is probably the prettiest city so far, but it wasn’t the most exciting time there as I spent most days in the internet café or just sitting around, shooting the shit and drinking.  After a hearty breakfast and a round of goodbyes, Lu and I headed to the bus station for a 5 hour journey to Loja.  We arrived there at around 5ish and booked into a cheap, crappy run down hostel.  Obviously the Lonely planet did not give this description or we would have tried elsewhere, but as it was only one night and we were right in the center we figured ta hell with it and stayed.  The bathroom was even complete with a “suicide shower,” I had heard about them plenty but it was my first sighting of the infamous contraption, with its bare wires poking out slightly above where your water comes from.  We wandered out immediately to look for a restaurant, a fairly nice one as our hostal was so cheap, we figured.  However, the village seemed to be full of only café style cheap restaurants rather than nice sit down places.  Loja walking rules seemed to be polar opposite to Ecuadorian driving rules:  here things moved painfully slow and passing was an impossibility on the small, cramped sidewalks, each one with a seemingly obligatory indigenous woman decked out in all black and a top hat, slowly meandering her wide hips down the exact center of each walkway.  The city was described by the guide books as clean and tranquil, but I for the life of me couldn’t understand why: it was crowded, cramped, and full of mechanic shops, pharmacies, bread bakeries and hostels, an odd mix of specialties.  I guess if Loja wasn’t at the end of the gringo trail and a well used jumping off point to Peru it wouldn’t see nearly as much action.  Its one saving grace was a well maintained park in the center, but it hardly made up for the rest of the hurried town.  We spend all night watching MGM in the hostel which thankfully, had subtitled movies rather than dubbed ones.
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photo by: Paulovic