Published: April 11th 2007April 11th 2007 Ecuador - Peru
From the roof of a train in Riobamba. 6053m makes it the tallest in Ecuador.
Ben & Nastassia
Well lots has been going on since getting back on the continent...
We went directly back up to the highlands where we left off in Ecuador. Next stop was Riobamba where you have to ride the train down the Â´Devils NoseÂ´, a steep valley rockcut that apparently looks like a nose... Anyways riding on the roof is not only allowed, itÂ´s encouraged. We had a beatuiful day before us as and we set out to spectacular views of Mt. Chimborazo, the tallest peak in Ecuador. We had a great ride on a what should be a Â´condemedÂ´ railway that should have stopped operating oh, lets say thirty years ago. Nevertheless we didnÂ´t crash or even derail so I guess they still know what theyÂ´re doing.
From there we went through the city of Cuenca to Vilcabamba in the Â¨Valley of Longevity.Â¨ Rumoured to have the greatest per capita 100+ year olds anywhere in the world. We never saw any but when your that age you usually arenÂ´t out and about that much anyways. Here we did lots of chillaxing and did some hiking in the beatuiful surroundings. Ben also got to
make a fun trip to the hospital. Yes, unfortunately there is some more bad news to come out of the Whale Story, as the cut got infected and a round of anti-biotics had to be administered. Four weeks later, the cut still hasnÂ´t fully healed (although its is healing eversoslowly). Although this is the perfect place in the world to kick back, relax and forget the real world, we still got two more countries to see and times a tickinÂ´!
So onwards we went into Peru and were shocked to wake up in the middle of the desert. PeruÂ´s entire coastline is a desert, in sharp contrast to the lushness of Ecuador. Our first stop was Trujillo and and sea-side town of Huanchaco which was much nicer to stay in. From here we checked out many ruins of two pre-inca cultures. First the Moche Culture that flourished from 50-900 AD and second the Chimu Culture that took over from 900-1500 AD. The IncaÂ´s moved in after that and made short work of these guys. But the ingenuity to build a civilazation in a real desert 2000 years ago is quite remarkable. Surprisingly many of the ruins arenÂ´t even run
Carvings from the Moche Culture from 50 - 900 BC.
The colour is original and beautifully preserved.
by the Peruvian Government and they havenÂ´t even supported the restoration or preservation meaning many sites are drastically underfunded and have not even been fully archived by acheologists yet!
A few days there and it was off to Huaraz, adventure capital of the Andes and perched on the side of the Â¨Swiss AlpsÂ¨of the South America. The Cordillera Blanca has something like 50 peaks over 5500m (18000Â´) in a area of 120 km by 20 km. We made a valiant effort to do the popular Santa Cruz Trek but were foiled by a large rockslide that covered the trail a day earlier and by a fradulant tour company we went with that planned a three-day trip but told us it was a four-day (and we could have completed it in four). Coniving bastards, and they still havenÂ´t given us our money back...
But on a better side, the weather was far from ideal anyway. Apparently the views are spectacular any way you look around here but all we got was the rocky base of all the mountains and Â´occasionalÂ´ glimpes of a whited out peaks. Lots of rain too. And just to insult us even more, our last day
Something like that, try and pronounce it because I can´t.
back in town turned out to be gorgeous clear day but we couldnÂ´t go anywhere because of a two-day public service strike that shut down all the roads. The big tourist season is from May to August and for good reason. I think we may come back sometime in that season too.
Well all for now. Hope everyone is just swell with you. We are off to the dunes and desert to get back on a board for the first time this season...
There are more photos below