This time of the year, when it’s bone chilling cold, I sometimes think of Isabella and Serge from France, and Le Rendez Vous, the place they lovingly built in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. I happened upon Le Rendez Vous one day when I was out walking. There’s no effort involved in finding anything in Vilcabamba since everything extends not too far from the town square. It’s a different story when you’re searching for a friend’s house in the mountains.
When I found Le Rendez Vous, I was staying at a charming place called Hostal Jardin Escondido. Then one day I heard a bell ring in my mind telling me it was time to leave Jardin Escondido for other experiences. I walked past the wall surrounding Isabella and Serge’s place and peeked in. “Very nice,” I thought. That day I said goodbye to the friendly staff at Jardin Escondido and to the acquaintances I’d met, laughed with and dined with, and walked my suitcase to the lovely room waiting for me at Le Rendez Vous. Chairs and a table were set in front of every room’s window, and in the morning Isabelle’s freshly-baked bread and delicious coffee would be served, along with fresh fruit or a freshly-squeezed fruit drink.. There were avocado, mango, lemon, bamboo trees, big wonderful plants surrounding Le Rendez Vous, and there were the beautiful mountains. What a tranquil scene it was. And guests can buy a chicken, potatoes, and veggies from the little local grocery store, wrap it all in foil and throw it onto the coals in the pit on the grounds. How good it is. There you are at night, under the stars, enjoying the food, and laughing with strangers. Isabella and Serge said that they travelled all over South America before returning to Vilcabamba. Every time they thought of VIlcabamba, they were pulled back to its tranquility and beauty. Eventually they returned to build their dream place. www.rendezvousecuador.com
One day I’ll go back. I’ve no doubt about that. And there, I hope will be, along with Le Rendez Vous, El Punto restaurant, La Tarraza for lunch, the enjoyable walk to Madre Tierra for lunch or dinner, the enjoyable walk to Izhcayluma for lunch or dinner, Shanta’s Bar, Mandango for hiking, beautiful Podocarpus National Park, Rumi Wilco Eco lodge for nature, the faces of the happy children, the Book Exchange up the road, where perhaps there’s another copy of “THE PANAMA HAT TRAIL” a very funny book which was left by a traveler at the Book Exchange. There’s got to be a few other things I’ve forgotten, but will happily remember when I get there. And I’ll apologize to Nora who tried, oh how she tried, to teach me Spanish. I’ll do better next time, Nora. Yes, it’s all good! Right!