Huaraz. Mountain Mecca.
After a quick stop in Barranca, and a mug of sweet quinua we were on a bus again, this time to Huaraz, a town on the foothills of the Cordillera Blanca. The road to and through the mountains proved to be one of my favorite scenic routes of Peru. Although not as thrilling as the ride to the Colca Canyon in Arequipa, Peru… but that´s later!
(*A note on Peru´s buses. There are two classes of buses. Luxurious to the point where you can actually fool yourself into believing you´re on a plane, or run-of-the-mill-crap bus that might or might not get you there on time and your there with the women, children, farmers, grandmothers, crazy luggage of gasoline, chickens, bits of wood, oh who knows what you´ll get!)
Rising to heights of 4,000m this town is the jumping off point for going into the mighty Huascaran Mountain Range. We stopped in the town and got ourselves a BEAUTIFUL hostel, “El Jacal”, owned by an elderly couple who kept the best view for their guests. We stayed in a room on the terrace and morning woke us with a breathtaking view of the city and with the snow-capped mountains in the background. (We were just as impressed with the small detail of running water and even more so when it turned out to be WARM.)
Hung around the town that night to see what we could eat. We ran across this restaurant on the second floor, right across from the Plaza Ginebra, and ordered probably the bestest tasting toxic food ive ever had in my life (speaking both of the great taste and the level of sickness it gave us later)
We had CUY! (guinea pig) and VINO CALIENTE! (hot wine) and PISCO CALIENTE! (hot Peruvian wine) and a great salad. Full up to the rafters. We managed to sneak some SUBLIME, only the best chocolate of Peru, in with our wines and it was just gastronomical goodness (at least for the tastebuds. As I said before, the after-effect…. i´d rather not remember) Next day we started the hike. I dont think i can describe to you how hard it is to hike in altitude. Im not in the best shape, and it felt like my breath ran out really quickly and I had to fight for air. Brandi is mountain woman and was loving every minute of it. It was still pretty strenuous, but the view was WORTH it. We walked through a valley, up the side of a mountain, through another valley, and then into the beautiful Lake 69 surrounded by Mount Pisco, Mount Alpamayo, and the mighty Huascaràn.
“Over the mountains and the sea
Your river runs with love for me”