Thursday, 30 January 2014

Concepcion To Cerro Azul

Sky to sand ... top of the world to sea level, a 4740 meter drop in a couple of hours.... so feeling the cold, been hailed and snowed on it was “half time change sides” and coastal we go.

I just felt like getting some sunburn and seeing if our camera was still playing up ... luckily it was. ... but then the focus played up

Heading through National Park Paisa Jistica we expected gravel of varying conditions ..... however no, totally tar and great condition, this was actually a bonus for us after bashing around on lumpy gravel so I took the advantage to have a restful ride and a wee snooze on the way... don’t tell Ellen.

Monster rock gardens

Awful valleys to look at

More pressure induced rock formations

Tomas, if we had known about it we would have left Concepcion later and stayed in Tomas, what a stunning wee town and very un-Peruvian being very clean.

As it was only mid morning we carried on with a healthy serving of canyons and rock gullies much to our surprise, we also thought we were on the wrong road as google maps show it as road 22 and Mrs.Garmin shows it as road 24 ... not sure who is wrong but we made it anyway.

Just after Tomas the wow was given to us again with a stunning lime rock canyon

As you can see it is skinny

Further down the valley the rock changes colour in the canyons

Our day was uneventful and pleasant until on a right hand blind corner we hit a moto head on, now we were hard to the right hand side like we always are on blind corner, the other moto was totally in our lane and totally on our side as well.

Not sure what he was thinking, if we were a typical Peruvian bus or truck that flies around corners without care they would have been dead.

No real damage to speak of other than the new gouges cover the old scratches, see were we are positioned, I had actually swung LEFT to avoid him but this was not entirely successful other than avoiding a harder impact.

He was very keen to pick up and get away, I think he thought he was in a pile of shit so wanted to get outa there asap.

Picking up Maya then his bike it was clear damage was minimal and no-one was hurt so all in all a successful crash if there is such an animal

Getting down in elevation the whole moonscape changes from lush mountain to arid desert

Making it out to the coast almost intact we headed north to Cerro Azul to the beach, nice place but spendie compared to the rest of Peru.

Sunsets are something we have had a shortfall of and we have been missing, with our timing right mum nature chucked us a beauty to watch for the evening, total change from the alps and a great contrast for us.

Rock bluffs with surfers

The sea about to put the sun out

The End

Monday, 27 January 2014

Tarma To Concepcion

After a few days at Tarma checking out caves, ruins and Inca trails we set off south.

We were handed nothing short of a glorious day allowing us pretty good views all round, plan was Las Bolsas to stay however they wanted more than 2 x our nightly average, also it was early in the day so we decided to carry on.

Given the clear skies I had spotted an intriguing snow capped mountain poking up on the middle of nowhere, we thought we would head for this and check it out.

Our maps showed a road to the top ... perfect, Mrs.Garmin agreed so that was that we were off.

Cresting the top I missed our turnoff because we were attacked by four dogs, one managing to temporarily latch onto my pants until I thumped it with a stone from our cup, we also cracked Maya open and they couldn’t keep up, this is what we saw ... slightly cool!!.

We decided to carry on over and down the other side, the road was in excellent condition and we had it to ourselves other than one stinky truck doings its two stroke impression.

Part of the road

The road seem to go on and on, I was starting to wonder if we had done the right move, late in the afternoon we came across Lampa .... yeah.

There was one hostel being build, one that was really shite and the one we ended up at which was a complete rook for the money but she had us cornered, next accom was around 4 hours away.

This was our room, note the window is a picture frame with the glass.

This was our toilet

There was no hot water .. definitely no Wifi.

They do have a cool tow square tho with a big hat

We have mentioned the barking dogs thing prior, it is worse here in Peru than anywhere else and this night was no exception keeping both of us awake for hours (normally Ellen sleeps through a bomb blast).

I went to find the source, knocking on the door with no answer the dog was going ape, so I knocked louder and heard someone but they would not come to the door so I thumped it harder and they yelled out something which I could not understand and the dog stopped....finally.

In the morning they were not happy with me knocking on their door, the hostel owners were complaining about the dog too but didn’t want to say anything so they left it too me .

The people then said it was not their dog (trying to get out of it) and they wanted and apology, both of us with our eyeballs around our knees they got quite the opposite.

They then conceded acknowledging the dog barking and still wanted an apology ...WTF.... they got even more than they bargained for at that point.

Then leaving town four other dogs again racing out chasing us down the street with the owners just standing their looking ... no comprehension of civil minds there.

Talking with a local the previous night he said the road to Comas was no problem so we carried on and ha a great ride, getting narrow and boggy in places no vehicles had been through for quite some time so it was interesting, coupled with an assortment yet again of dogs wanting a piece of us....something in the water of this valley me thinks.

More awful views

And some fun bridges

Starting the decent

Comas appeared at around lunchtime, it was a welcome sight of seemingly normal people, lunch for the day was Coy (Guinea Pig) and it was very nicely cooked.

Maya again bought the place to a standstill with a crowd of about 15 or so very interested in the bike and us, many questions and big smiles .... almost back to Colombia.

The start of the gathering

Waving goodbye to our new found friends in Comas we hit the tar (what a treat) back to civilization and ended up in Concepcion so canned the day there getting a hostel with hot water, wifi and nice parking for Maya.

The main road back

Tarma - Camino Inca (Inca Walking Trail)

Not as famous as Machu Picchu but a nice walk, to be honest you can ride probably 90% of it ... just a problem getting down the last 10% intact.

Just to give it some authenticity ....the old guy on the right gave us directions and we gave him two toffee lollies ....he liked them

In true form from the Peruvians who didn’t have a clue they guided us completely astray, Peruvians will never say they don’t know and they will always give you directions to somewhere.

The soil at this point was very red and very orange ....mineral rich of something.

There are a couple of crazy trees with S bends

There was few ruins along the way but to be honest without sounding like a bastid sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between ruins and someone house.

These are inhabited residence, no power, no running water, they are as genuinely old school as you can get.

The crest of the valley f i n a l l y ...with ominous clouds to go

Highlight of the day, an old man took a shine to Ellen and picked her some flowers which was duly thanked with a kiss ... he was not expecting that

Total surprise from him with Ellens reaction and thanking him, he was delighted despite the look on his face (which changed after this photo) and I know she made his day

This was our collectivo taxi that picked us up, there were 8 adults and 3 children in the car , just a small Toyota station wagon .. could easy squeeze another dozen in