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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Monday, 25 Sep 2006

Location: Huaraz, Peru

MapOur last night in Lima was good - went to Astrid y Gaston for a posh meal and our first Pisco Sours (the local drink with Pisco (the spirit), egg white, lime and who knows what else) and a bottle of Peruvian wine. The meal was very good, but this may not have been the night to quadruple our usual alcohol intake as Sue was ill the next morning - blaming the rich food or egg whites of course. This wasn´t the ideal preparation for our 8 hour bus journey. We met four Canadians at our hotel who were also headed for Huaraz so shared the taxi to the bus station with Lauren. Half way there we realised we had made one of the classic travellers´ mistakes - leaving our passports and plane tickets in the hotel safe. We had to continue to the bus station to make sure Lauren was on time, then went back in the rush hour traffic to reclaim our stuff - but we made it back in time for the bus - Sue coped particularly well with the two extra taxi rides despite her condition. She was fine on the bus (two more action movies!), but was promptly sick again when we got to Huaraz.

We had difficulty finding somewhere to stay in Huaraz and ended up in a Casa Particular costing $8 for the night. The room was OK, although the sheets were virtually transparent. We decided to move in the morning and booked in to the Albergue Churup where, as it happened, the Canadians were also staying. It´s a great place to stay, we´ve got a lovely room with a balcony overlooking the mountains, the top floor has a kitchen / common room with sofas around a log fire where everyone gets together to read, eat and chat. It makes a huge difference staying somewhere that is full of other people doing the same thing and exchanging information about treks etc. To top it all. the roof terrace has great views and a table football table.

We spent 3 days acclimatising to the altitude, doing a couple of day walks - had a lovely walk yesterday with the Canadians in Honko Pampa Zona Turistico. We walked up a river valley through polylepis woods up to a plateau with great views of the glacier above. Lauren, who is superfit, probably walked (and occasionally ran) about twice as far as anyone else.

We´re booked on a 4-day trek tomorrow - Santa Cruz, which is the most popular (short?) trek around here. The classic trek, around the Huayhuash range takes 12 days - probably a bit ambitious for our first taste of the wild outdoors! The agency has been recommended by the hotel and other guests - there are a lot of horror stories about treks arranged through other agencies with dodgy gear, food, guides and overburdened donkeys. We have been promised the luxury of a dinner tent and a toilet tent - apparently some groups end up eating in the open air in freezing conditions. We still have some reservations about whether we have sufficient clothes for camping out in sub-zero temperatures, although we have bought some very attractive woolly hats to wear in bed. There are 5 other people going, all female!