One Month Down
I have been here in Peru for more then a month now! It’s hard to believe. My weekend trip to Huaraz was absolutely beautiful. The video and pictures don’t do it justice, but they hopefully give you a sense of the breathtaking views.
We left Lima at 9:30 pm last Thursday and traveled the 8 hours to Huaraz overnight. I slept a bit, but the people sitting in front of me essentially had their seats in my lap, so it was a bit uncomfortable. When we finally arrived, it was early morning and cold! We soon learned, like my host mom warned me, one day in la sierra can have 4 different seasons. Our group then set out to find a market to buy some food for the weekend. After walking around the market for a while, I began to feel funny and almost fainted! Hello high altitude. After resting, we went to the second level of the little market where there were a number of small eateries. We ordered some mate de coca– a tea made of coca leaves– to help with the altitude sickness and caldo de gallina.
Because our inn was situated in the mountains, we had to call a taxi to drive us there. As we waited, the sun came out and “summer” arrived. It was lovely to feel the sun again, as we don’t see much of it here in Lima. Soon, the taxis arrived and drove us the 30 minutes to our inn on unpaved, mountain roads. We all decided to take it easy and relaxed in the sunshine for the rest of the afternoon.
The next morning, we embarked on a hike to one of the nearby valleys. I am, admittedly, a bit of a weakling when it comes to trekking and hiking, but this was just ridiculous. Although it looked like we were walking on essentially flat land, it felt like I was running up hill. What should have been a pretty easy hike ending up being quite tiring. We stopped and ate lunch by the river before heading home… but not before meeting a couple of bulls along the path who wanted our food.
On our second day, a group of us decided to make the long journey to see two beautiful lagoons. The journey was indeed long. We first took a combi from our inn down to town. From there, we took another to a town called Yungay (this combi was packed and we had to ride backwards the whole way. Not pleasant). After getting off the combi in Yungay, we were bombarded by taxi drivers offering to drive us up to the national park and the lagoons. Soon after, we were on our way. The lagoons were absolutely beautiful. The water was literally turquoise and there weren’t many other people around so the setting was very peaceful. We stayed for about 2 hours before our taxi driver picked us up. On our way back down to Yungay, we got a flat tire and the taxi driver’s jack was rusted and useless. After various attempts, we informed him we needed to get back into town before the combis stopped running. After much waiting to no avail, we stopped a Limeñan couple who agreed to drive us back down to Yungay. They were headed to what we only knew to be a large Jesus statue and invited us to join them. It turns out, the town of Yungay was completely destroyed in the 1970s. From what I understood, there was an earthquake which caused some lakes to flood which caused a huge mudslide. Most of the town’s citizens were killed, and those who survived did so by climbing to the town’s cemetery, to the foot of this large Jesus statue. From there, the couple graciously drove us back to Huraraz.
Overall, the trip was a success. It was really great to get out of the hustle and bustle (and pollution) of Lima and relax in the calm of the beautiful mountains. Even on the combi to La Católica Wednesday morning, I felt a sense of calm… which is not usually the feeling combis provoke. At the end of this month, we travel with IFSA to Cuzco to see MACHU PICCHU!! It we be lo maximo, I’m sure.