Loja, Ecuador

On Wednesday, June 27, we took the bus from Guayaquil all the way to Loja. The bus followed the coastal route to the city of Machala, there it turned inland. We spent the next 5 hours climbing into the Andes mountains. It was a wild ride as the bus driver seemed to be racing over the winding mountain roads; he would have done well in a Grand Prix race! For the last two hours of the trip we felt like we were riding at the “top ot the world”. After checking a number of very cheap and not-so-cheap hotels, we picked the Hostal San Luis, near Plaza Simon Bolivar, just $16 per night for a nice clean room, with hot water and cable TV.

Loja is a small city high in the mountains of Ecuador with several interesting churches and a very interesting city gate. It was much cooler there than it was at lower elevations and we even had light rain over much of our visit. On Thursday we followed the “tourist trail” thru the town stopping to enjoy coffee at one of the many small restaurants along the way. This small cafe had upstaris seating overlooking one of the many church plazas and we enjoyed several mokas while waiting for the rain to lessen. The trail passed thru the main plaza with it nearby cathedral. The cathedral has a golden altar that stands out in its ornateness against the more simple walls. We ended the walking tour on a street of older homes with wooden balconies overhanging the sidewalk.