Note: if you want to read about tales from the saddle and dirt road adventures in Peru, then this post is not for you. If you want to know what I have been doing (and eating), then you may be interested to read ahead.
Internet is incredibly slow, so hence the basic look of this blog post.
Sometimes riding just works out, and sometimes you have to put up with a load of other gumph so that you can eventually get on with your business of being on your bike. These past few weeks have been just incredibly bitty, they started off with a welcome rest from riding in some incredibly comfortable surrounds in Ayacucho, then turned into a frustrating wait for anti- Rabies vaccines after realising I would not be able to get them on the road.
17th June- Huancavelica to Lircay
So back on my bike after some much needed rest. I would have stayed longer in Huancavelica but there were a few reasons to get back in the saddle. I had sent on most of my belongings to Ayacucho and was keen to retrieve my laptop so that I could get writing again. Also Ayacucho is at 2700m altitude which is a lot lower than most places I have been recently, so the weather is a lot more favourable. Also I wanted to watch some of the world cup with Nathan who was already there. I didn’t set of early as I wanted to do the last rounds of my favourite breakfast haunts. Here are some of the results of my food exploration in Huancavelica.
And a little bit of what Huancavelica actually looked like….
Back on the road I was full of resentment- I was still on an unpaved road but there was a lot more traffic than I was used to, maybe around 3 cars an hour rather than 3 a day, I’d been spoiled with tranquility and was not used to bonehead honking trucks, some of which even gave me the finger. The ride was nice enough but nothing on the previous few weeks riding. On arriving in Lircay there were preparations for a fiesta so most of the hotels were booked up, and the municipality didn’t want to help. I eventually found a place to stay and then realised my heart was not in the cycling so made the plan to get the bus the following day to Ayacucho. This was the first time I’d got a bus on the route and I would have kept on riding slowly if England had not been playing the following day. Really wanting to watch England play over riding my bike reflected how tired I still was.
Some well needed rest and comfort 18th – 30th June – Ayacucho
Getting the bus to Ayacucho was scary, they go so fast round blind corners, it made me afraid for my cycling self. And on arriving in Ayacucho it suddenly seemed so warm, usually with riding you feel the changes so gradually, it was a shock to see how quickly the topography and temperature can change when travelling my motorised means. So of course England lost which made me feel a little regretful about bussing, but not really- I was happy to be relaxing in balmy Ayacucho, and I’d resolved to go back and ride the part I’d missed. The stay in Ayacucho was a lot longer than expected mainly due to finding a gem of a couch surfing couple. Jan and Ellen are from Belgium out here for work. They were great company, people who would be friends had we lived in the same city. Their home was such a relaxing place to be, an apartment of European standards with all the luxuries of hot water, an oven and own ensuite rooms. Having use of an oven for the first time in over a year really got me and Nathan and excited. We cooked up a veggie version of the British classic Shepards Pie, and then lasagne, oh and some granola energy bars for the road. Nathan and I both agreed that we felt like we were on holiday, waking up in a light and airy apartment, making coffee in a kitchen, our days spent working on our computers (it was here I completely changed my blog theme and layout) and watching the world cup. Each evening Jan would come home with a bottle of wine, or beers, or pisco. This was the first time in ages I’d had a drink which only added to the holiday vibe. It was also the first time in months we were in a climate where a jacket isn’t even needed at night, and it’s fine to walk around in flip flops. I didn’t take many pictures during this visit to Ayacucho. But that isn’t a reflection on the town, more my idleness. The city’s significance lies is it’s tragic recent history, The Shining Path and it’s conflict with the National Army. The Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) Communist Party actually refused to take part in elections but took hold of the city and the surrounding area (up into Huancavelica and Apuricmac) in 1980s. It appealed to the disenfranchised campesinos in the Andean highlands by providing ‘popular justice’. In 1981 the government issued a state of emergency and gave the military power to detain any suspected members of the party. These powers were abused which led to torture rape and massacre, both sides equally culpable. Shockingly Over 80,000 people were killed during this time and up until 2000, with retaliations taking place in recent years. I visited the city’s Museum of Memory which was full of interesting testimonials and art works about this time. I read this interesting article about the events. – What felt significant to me was that I just had no idea about any of this before I arrived in this town. On continuing my journey by bike I passed through some of the villages mentioned in some of the articles I had read, which gave me a very different feeling of these places and the people.
- Memories of riding the Dunwich Dynamo
- These Bits In Between, part 2