Huaraz is a standard town at the foot of Peru's largest section of Andes. As it was Easter weekend had a nice procession on the Sunday but the main pull is trekking to the various glaciers and lakes which didn't disappoint as you can see from the photos.
Highlight for me was the Canon Del Pato or Duck Canyon. Decided to venture by bike alone from Caraz along a very scenic downhill (thankfully) mainly tarred road. As in a valley you can't get lost! In true Brit style I donned my hat, slopped on my sun cream and headed out into the midday sun with not enough water!! A gentle meander for 39km ended with the last 12km in the Canon Del Pato. Armed with my crappy head torch I cycled through the 35 tunnels getting covered in mud and with each tunnel running the gauntlet with potential on-coming traffic. By the end having gone through dust, mud and tar I felt like a cartoon villain covered in all sorts of materials.
My reward was a quiet village by the river which due to traffic restrictions for the return journey was my home for 4 hours...so I plonked myself in the only restaurant to kill time. The restaurant had no menu so my option was only meat; it was served by "the only gay in the village" Little Britain character; had Peruvian Strictly Come Dancing starring 12 Anne Widdecomb's to keep me entertained...the only saving grace was the owner like football so enjoyed Chelsea 0-0 draw in Champ League!! As you can tell the 4 hours passed pretty quickly just observing Peruvian life.
Chachapoyas is a neat little town with these old houses and balconies similar to Cuzco. After a bus travel fail over 24 hrs to get there i checked into a single room for $9...bargain! Just what i needed as was tired and smelly!
The pull factor here is Kuelap a sort of Machu Picchu but built 900yrs before. Hence although set upon the hill and a defensive fortress it lacked that WOW factor of Machu. It didn't help that it was raining...but still impressive given when it was built.
The other reason people visit is for the statues/tombs/sarcophagus of the Chachapoyas people placed upon shear limestone cliffs around 1200AD...they would destroy the paths once placed to avoid thieving. Unfortunately as limestone meant erosion over the years and so loads of fallen and broken...even a few bones lying around the place!!
Prior to this stop were some caves where we donned some wellies as turned out to be very sticky mud...a few came face to face with it! Again the caves used to be a cemetery but also a cavern of stalag "might touch the ceiling" and stalactites.
Prior to going into the caves i had an "old people" moment which at 3* yrs is bad news but now see what my mum's friends must go through on a daily basis! We were waiting to pay entry and one of the group picked up a broomstick...
In my head i was oh "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" or a witch from "Wizard of Oz"...
Group member said oh its a "something 2000" (something = he said something but didn't register)
I was like "uh"
He said "you know quiditch"
I was like "uh"
He said "Harry Potter"
I was like "ohhh" after which i found the nearest seat, put some comfortable velcro shoes on, lit my pipe and read the back section of the Daily Mail deciding which pair of elasticated trousers to buy next!
Quick annoyances from the bus journey. Reading "Captain Philips" about the Somali pirates and as I jumped on the bus guess what film starts...and for the first time not dubbed and in English!!...alas despite my speed reading I finished the book as the film closing credits came up. Secondly when people jump onto buses (and planes) why can they not find their seat?? This guy was looking for seat 56487..his luggage ticket number!
Anyway the beach is nice and the water warm and after a lame attempt at surfing decided to go body boarding which I also failed at...I realise that I am not a water baby. What I did realise I am good at is beer pong! My team made the final but couldn't make the final cup which meant drinking copious amounts of beer and a blood bomb (don't know nor want to know what's in it!). The same night I got a complement of looking 25 yrs old although my smile was removed when someone else said "you're not an accountant are you?" What?? Do I have a badge on? Is it really that obvious? You would have thought being away for 7 months I would have lost it!
As I said in my blog title I am off to Ecuador tonight but thanks to my stupidity I have also signed up for the Lima marathon on 18 May. Need to somehow get race fit in just over 2 weeks...so ventured out for an 1.5hr run which apart from getting chased by dogs was a relatively successful run. Issue being not many training opportunities over coming weeks so won't be getting a PB but will have ticked off a marathon in South America...will be 4 continents down!! In my 40th year plan to run the Antarctic marathon...tick off my 7th continent and RETIRE!!