I had heard many good things about an area in the Sierra mountains called Minca and was eager to see it for myself. After a leisurely morning of packing, stopping at a super market and grabbing a bite to eat at a great spot called Lola where we had a cocktail and a chorizo arepa, Ryan and I took a jeep there.
We had to take a jeep because apparently most taxis without 4-wheel drive won’t make it up the roads. I now understand why! While I didn’t get motion sickness at all, I did get a sort of rug burn from the constant sliding back and forth or up and down against the seat of the car. The bumps and holes in the roads were significant and the driver had to work hard to avoid them. I became jealous of people like Ryan who can read without getting sick.
After about an hour we made it up to Casa Viejas and the long, bumpy journey finally all made sense.Upon walking in, a sense of peace came over me. Not only was it quiet and beautiful, but there was a noticeable sense of community and positivity in the air. We were brought to our room which was charming and authentic. It also had quasi outdoor shower vibes which I’m all about. We dropped our things, grabbed a hummus and cheese plate from the kitchen (best food so far, their homemade bread is best I’ve ever had) and then made our way up to the “sunset spot”.
The walk was only 20 minutes, but it was a hot one. The hostel dog, Mona, made sure we found the spot okay. Apparently, she loves to hike with the guests. We reached the spot and sat on a bench with another woman from our hostel, Fransisca. She was from Germany and we chatted about our travels while we waited for the sun to go down. The great thing about mountain sunsets is that each minute changes the scenery in a new way. New shadows appear on a valley, a rainbow sky begins to grow and outlines of trees begin to changes. We sat for about 20 minutes and then made our way back. The walk down was much cooler and a lot darker, we had to use our flashlight a few times.
Today was New Year’s Eve so we joined the rest of the guests in the common areas for a drink and to participate in some of the traditions. One of them was to write what you wanted to get rid of from 2018 on a piece of paper and stuff it into a scarecrow made of old clothes. Another was to wear yellow underwear for luck, but instead they gave us all yellow ribbons to wear. We had a few glasses of wine (and tried the local beer) with Fransisca, an Irish couple and a German/American couple before our communal dinner. No surprise, the dinner was just as great! The drinks were good too, but the bartender was a bit slow, it became a bit of a running joke. I went into a bit of a food coma from dinner, so while I really wanted to stay up until midnight and participate in a few more traditions (like putting lentils in your pocket and lighting a candle), I went to bed instead. I’ve never been a huge fan of staying up until midnight or New Years in general because personally I think you should constantly be striving for a better year versus waiting until the first of January.