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Published: March 29th 2008
After getting back from Machu Picchu, i had one day free in Cusco, which i spent going to see yet more Incan ruins. This time in Pisac, around an hour North of Cusco, in the Sacred Valley. The ruins at Pisac are actually larger than those located at Machu Picchu and they are spread across a hillside in another spectacular location. Most of them are made up of agricultural terracing. Above are 3 separate sets of building ruins - a military complex, a temple area and a small collection of houses.
I spent a couple of hours wandering around the ruins, which i was really impressed with. Particularly the temple area which is much larger than that seen at Machu Picchu. The stonework in this area is really perfectly finished. Also, the views down the sacred valley from the area are pretty spectacular.
Having had my fill of Incan ruins by this stage, i headed back to Cusco for a last night, before flying up to Lima to meet up with Helen for the last 2 weeks of the trip. Huaraz
After the short 40 min flight from Cusco to Lima, i met Helen in
Laguna Llaca in Cordillera Blanca
The clouds lifted just as we arrived to give a bit of a view of the lake
the airport. We had planned to spend the last 2 weeks together travelling, as her trips have now finished up and she is on "tiempo libre" before heading back to London on the same date as me.
With neither of us being big fans of touring cities, and having not heard great things about Lima, we both jumped on a bus straight away and headed North in Peru to the town of Huaraz.
Huaraz is a small town located at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca. This is a part of the high Andes containing 50 peaks at or over 5,500m in a fairly small area. Its a big climbing location, but most people have probably heard of it as the range where the story "Touching the Void" occurred. Touching the Void
Huaraz´s location is just great and on clear days the view up to the Cordillera is fantastic. However, Helen and I decided to visit during the wet season and we were rewarded with no views of the stunning mountain range during our whole time in Huaraz! Instead, we got lots of cold days, cloud cover and rainfall.
Undeterred, we decided to make the most of our
visit. For one of our days there, we hired moutain bikes and went up into the low level hills above the town for a bit of an acclimitization ride. In clear spells, this gave great views down over the town and through the small villages that we rode through.
Having seen the weather conditions when we arrived, we quickly knocked on the head our ideas of trekking for a few days, camping and cooking on stoves. Fully admitting that we are now big 30-something softies, we found a lodge located in the hills, closer to some of the walks, that we could stay at. Stuff the camping. Staying in a comfortable bed, sitting around a fire in the evenings and having meals cooked for us seemed like a much better option.
We stayed at a place called "The Lazy Dog", around 30mins North of Huaraz, into the hills. The Lazy Dog
Its run by a lovely Canadian couple called Diana and Wayne who have the built the place from scratch. And we were so glad we stayed there as Diana, one of the owners, was so helpful to us (Wayne was away with work during most of our stay
there). She organised day walks for us to do, prepared great meals and made us feel so welcome (Along with her 3 big dogs).
The location of the Inn was also perfect for us to embark on 2 separate one day walks. These were to 2 separate lakes, Laguna Llaca on the first day and Laguna Churup on the second day. Despite the weather remaining fairly cloudy for most of the walks, we managed to escape most of the rains and had great walks. Both lakes are located at 4,500m altitude, making the walks both fairly tiring. But the views when we got to both were really spectacular. The cloud even cleared for a little on the second day, giving brief glimpses of the snow covered mountains behind that tower above the lakes.
Having got a taster of the Huaraz area, Helen and I both agree that we will have to come back to the area in the dry season, in order to try and see a little more of the mountain range, and do a couple of longer, multi day treks in the region. Trujillo and the far Peruvian North
After our time in Huaraz,
Main Plaza in Trujillo
Complete with statue representing agriculture, commerce, education, art, slavery, action, liberation and liberty. Obvious now, isn´t it?
we moved further North in Peru towards the coastal town of Trujillo. Its the next town North where the bus stops. As we had dropped back down to the coast again, the temperature increased dramatically from Huaraz and it was back into the shorts and T-shirts rather than the fleeces and walking shoes again. We planned just to stay for a night and get the bus the following evening further North, into Ecuador and back up into the altitude again.
We actually stayed for the night in a coastal town just to the North of Trujillo called Huanchacao. This had us staying right on the beach, allowing us to go for walks along the seafront, and have some great seafood at night.
The following day we went into Trujillo for a few hours. We found it to be a really nice city to wander around (although very hot). All the buildings in the colonial heart of the city are painted in various pastel colours, making it very striking to sit around the central square. The city itself is quite green with a few parks, which is totally in contrast to everything surrounding the city, which is completely desert
like with huge sand dunes.
As a way to reward ourselves with all the strenuous walking and travelling we had been doing, we also took it upon ourselves to find the best Pisco Sour in Northern Peru. Helen, being a lover of Chile, was convinced that they had the best Pisco Sours. Both Chile and Peru lay claim to it as their national drink, so it was only fair we tested out the Peruvian equivalent. For those that haven´t tried it before, its a drink with a spirit called Pisco (Distilled from grapes), lemon juice, egg white and some sugary syrup.
After extensive research, i think we are still quite undecided as to which is the best. Helen still favours Chile (I think only because they are stronger!), while i think they are better in Peru. The tasting goes on.....
PS: The increase in Pisco Sour intake is in no way related to travelling with Helen again! Just to make it clear.
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