Nothing as planned . . . – Our first two weeks in Peru
After three days of travelling (train from Hanover to Frankfurt, flight from Frankfurt via Ottawa and Toronto to Lima continuing to Jauja, taxi from Jauja to Tarma) we are reunited with the firetruck. Our Peruvian family in Acobamba, who was kind enough to guard our van for over one year, is also pretty happy to see us again. Kind of feels like coming home, but different.
The first five days in Peru we spend getting the van back on track. Last years travels, especially the drive through the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, has left some marks. Since Tarma is a pretty small town in Peru, it is kind of a challenge to find spare parts for a German built car. In the end we get almost everything fixed (or something like that in a Peruvian way) and ready for the journey. It is nice to have the Marcelitas as a base where we can also make some changes in the interior of the van. We modify it a bit to have more space inside. Meanwhile we set up our bikes and go for a few first short rides.
We didn`t plan to stay that long around Tarma, but as almost everything in South America nothing goes as planned… Those first few days just remind us of this fact. A nice side effect is that we get served a lot of traditional Peruvian food from Moises like Tamales, Humitas, Cuy picante, Trucha frita, Papa Huancayina and many more.
Finally, after almost one week we leave Tarma and head towards the Cordillera Blanca. Those beautiful Andean mountains. The roads in Peru are still the same. Sometimes there, sometimes not, sometimes maybe …
In Huaraz we quickly get everything organized for our first bike project – the Huascarán. The night in the mountains is magical. We sleep under a clear sky full of stars. Unfortunately, my cold wouldn’t leave me and I struggle with my breathing. The next morning, we decide to give it a go anyway. The idea is to climb up to the Refugio Donbosco, which is located right under the glacier of the Huascarán on 4700 masl and stay there for one night. The descend is planned for the next day.
We start at an altitude of 3200 masl in Musho just on the foot of the Huascarán. The landscape is beautiful, the weather perfectly sunny but my cold is still there. We slowly start in the uphill admiring the scenery and this majestical mountain in front of us. On the way up we walk through a mystical forest that opens up to grassy fields occupied by cows when we get higher.
When we make it to the basecamp at 4200 masl I don`t feel too good. My head and my stomach ache and I feel exhausted. While I rest a little bit Lev leaves his bike with me and checks the trail further up. He comes back and we decide that we should return to the car this time. From the basecamp we would have to climb up a few 100 meters before we would reach the slickrock section, left behind from the melting glacier. Before we start our descend we talk to some guide who are in the basecamp. They tell us, that there is another pretty easy way up to the Refugio on the other side of the mountain. That´s just the info we where unknowingly looking for. We decide to keep the slickrock for next time, when I feel better and once we return from Ecuador. But next time we will take the easy way up!
Word spoken we get on the bikes and start with the fun part – down the hill.
Surfing in the north of Peru
Our next stop brings us to Huanchacho, a surfer hotspot on the northern Peruvian coast. We want to buy some surfboards. After a quick stroll through the pretty touristy city, we find Angelo from TRW Surfboards, a local shaper. We immediately get along very well and we buy two of his boards.
With the surfboards on top of the firetruck we head towards Chicama, the longest left wave in the world. This place is beautiful. We park directly at the beach and jump in the wetsuits. In the water we must paddle hard. The current is brutal and it is not easy for me to catch a wave. Since it is the first time surfing this year, we both realise that we have a lack of paddle power, but that doesn`t effect the fun we have in the water. Chicama is a lovely place with an awesome wave.
Further up north we meet Ruby and Josh, friends from a friend from Lev, in Lobitos. This place has it all. A relaxed atmosphere, a clean beach and a nice wave, even easy for beginners and almost no current to paddle against. Chefre. With the good company, the nice surf, perfect weather and beautiful sunsets it is hard to leave this place, but we have to catch a flight in Ecuador.