Waterfall and Lagunas

After travelling up from Lima to Canta on Saturday we found a hotel at a reasonable cost with average accommodation. The Cancay Vento Hotel was comfortable enough but you have to be quick if you want a warm or hot shower. The hot water does not last long. Tired from the early start and the arduous journey, I had an early night and was up early raring to go the next day.

Things went somewhat awry, as our travelling companions of the previous day were not going to be joining us due to some family matter, as far as I could tell. So, after breakfast, Sonia and I decided to join a minibus tour about to depart for the local highlights. This was to include a visit to some small lakes at 4,500 metres above sea level, a height I had never attained before without the aid of an aeroplane. Having read about altitude sickness, I was prepared for it, should it occur. Canta, where we had stayed the night is at 2,800 metres and I was feeling fine.

The first stop we made was aptly named San Pedro.

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San Pedro

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A view of the road we were on. A 3 point turn would be interesting.

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The quaint village of Cullhuay  let down by discrimination against men.  The gents toilet was locked.

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On to the waterfall. I had to wait ages to get a picture without people. Incredible how crowded it can get.

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Laguna Chanchun

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Laguna de Siete Colores

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I could just see the top of the roof of this bungalow from the edge of the lagoon so set off at sub-mountain goat speed, which slowed to sub-tortoise speed as the altitude started to affect me. It was worth it though.

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On the way back we stopped for lunch at a trout farm, Picigranja Huaras. Yes, trout again but it was fresh from the tank to the table. The farm is situated in a picturesque valley.

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That was the end of the tour. I have to give credit to the minibus driver as he was fully competent and did not give any anxious moments. Also the journey back to Lima was easier as it was Sunday evening and there was not much work taking place. When the roadworks are complete, the Canta region and Obrajillo, in particular will deservedly get a boost in visitors.

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The Road to Canta

My last weekend in Lima was spent out of the city but still within the province of Lima. A trip to the region of Canta in the Andes, North East of the city of Lima. I went with my friend Sonia, her work colleague, Jonathan and 2 more members of his family. As seems to be the way here, in Lima at least, the travel arrangements were slightly complicated. Half an hour´s walk to the Metropolitano station, travel to the furthest station and be collected by Jonathan´s family in their car. It was comfortable enough for the 5 of us. To begin with at least.

I had been told that the road we were going on was not exactly motorway standard. Well, we had not gone far out of Lima, when I realised that the road was just an endless series of potholes. It is currently being upgraded and there is work going on at various sites on the road. The problem is that the cars have to share the road with the trucks and earth’moving equipment.

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After a while the others decide to stop for some food, I was not fussed as I had left the penthouse at 06.00, having had my usual banana for breakfast. I gave in when I was asked to try some “chirimoya“, although it did look odd. But then so does a pineapple.

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It has a very sweet flesh but seems to have more pips than a pomegranate.

 

 

 

 

 

Suitably refreshed, we continued our journey through numerous patches of major roadworks.

 

 

 

After working in quarries and on major construction projects for many years, I thought I had seen most things. I have never seen anything quite like this though.

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                                                       The drilling rig was working just above the “road.

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                                                      The 360 excavator was hurling rocks on to the road below.

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 The shovel operator must have felt invulnerable, sitting as close as he was to the tumbling rock face. A contractor´s sign proclaimed. “1,000,000 hours without accidents”. I am struggling with that.

Eventually, after about 5 hours but which seemed like an eternity, with the poor car taking a battering underneath from the uneven surface and rocks, we turned off the highway and stopped at a lovely little watering hole. Well, a hole with water in.

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                                                  From  there we travelled a short distance into a valley, to a place called Obrajillo,

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…….where we stopped for lunch.

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                                                              I had trout which was  caught in the river running through the valley.

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  After lunch we went up to a small village with some stunning views….

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                                                                                      ….and some not so stunning.

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After visiting the sweet little village of San Miguel…..

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                                                                           …we moved on to Canta where we stayed the night.

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Cats in the Park

Whilst walking through Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, Lima, recently, I commented to my friend that there seemed to be a lot of cats either in or around the park. IMG_0099     DSCN0800

Everywhere I looked there seem to be cats.DSCN1004 Oops!! Sorry, wrong park.

DSCN0801 ( They look remarkably similar to me.)

It seems though, the cat population of Kennedy Park used to be more than 100 and was a popular attraction to both tourists and a significant amount of locals. There is however, an opposing faction, people who don’t like cats. They have campaigned to have the cats removed and if necessary, put down. It would appear that a local priest is one of those unhappy with the presence of the cats and was even, allegedly, accused of killing or kidnapping some of the unfortunate creatures. Which he denies. Also, allegedly, he prevented the rescue of a cat which was trapped in the church tower.DSCN1066

Many of the cats have been adopted and now live in good homes. Those remaining being totally oblivious to the divide they have created in public opinion.   I have to include a pic of the house cat where I live. IMG_0209 Scrawny yet endearing. How could you not like a cat?  They are right up there with guinea pigs for me.

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From Clusters to Cloisters

It has taken me almost 2 months to realise something that certain other people would have noticed immediately. The shops here seem to be in clusters . By that, I mean a particular street will just have computer related shops or health related shops, for instance.

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A large part of this particular street in Surquillo, Lima, is dedicated to hospitals, dentists, pharmacies and opticians etc. Anything health related. Then it changes to car spares and similar things.  As I recalled having walked along a street with shops catering only to people requiring protective clothing for the construction industry, the light finally came on in my head. There must be a street with shoes, socks, all manner of clothing and maybe in my size.

The main street for shopping in central Lima, turned out to be the Jirón de la Unión, which is pedestrianised, with traffic crossing in places. It was where I bought my working boots but I thought I would return in daylight and take a closer look and also do some sight seeing as this street of shops leads directly to the Plaza Mayor.DSCN1082

I managed to find a pair of all terrain shoes, quite quickly and at a good price. There are quite a lot of street vendors and I soon found myself in negotiations for a useful map of  Perú. The seller wanted 25 soles, which is about £6.50. I offered 5 soles and we haggled for ages. I was enjoying it because he was from Cusco and his accent was easier for me to understand than that of the local population.

I abandoned the usual principle of haggling and stuck to my original offer and eventually he agreed. I did feel a bit mean but happy mean.

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I went on to the Plaza Mayor,took a few pictures and then spent the 20 soles I saved earlier taking a tour of the Archbishop’s Palace. I have no intention of using this blog as a platform for religious views (for or against) but I was amazed to see the level of luxury that the Archbishop and his cronies lived in, while their impoverished congregation no doubt starved and/or werehomeless.

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The tour did not take long and I soon found myself exchanging the cloisters in the palace for those in an adjoining street where there was a cluster of restaurants. I settled for Peru Gourmet, which in spite of its name was very reasonably priced. My lunch consisting of Argentinian beef with fettuccine and a creamy sauce. Naughty but nice!! Accompanied by water and followed by a nice strong cup of coffee.

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I made my way back to the bus station via the Plaza de San Martin feeling reasonably contented, although I am a bit worried about my physical fitness after being laid up for almost 2 weeks.

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Más Leyendas

As I still have some more photos of El Parque de Las Leyendas, as yet unseen, I thought I should put them on here.

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The park is well maintained

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The grass is regularly cut.

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With the edges carefully tended.

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Appearance is everything.

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Under constant supervision.

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With enforcers ready to step in…..

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….should any slacking be detected.

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Zero tolerance.

El Parque de Las Leyendas

After meeting for a cup of coffee, my friend Sonia suggested a trip to El Parque de Las Leyendas in Lima. It seemed like a good idea. Although it was a cloudy day, the temperature was not too bad for an afternoon outdoors.

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Parque de las Leyendas (Photo credit: D-Stanley)

The park is a combination of a zoo, botanical gardens and an archaeological site.

There is plenty there to keep the kids entertained for people on a family day out.

There was even enough to keep me occupied for a few hours.

If you like big cuddly animals. There are plenty to see here.

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From a safe distance of course. And from the other side of the fence.

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Except where there is no fence and the animals like to get up close and personal.

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Fortunately this lovely creature cannot get too close.

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I get the feeling we are being watched.

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Is that a Triffid?

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What do you think they are going to keep in there when it is finished?

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Catapalla Lunahuaná

Having spent an unscheduled night out in Lunahuaná, my first thought as I got out of bed was of finding a shop that sells toothbrushes etc. I decided to go in search of a shop straight away.  DSCN0914 This was the view from the doorway of my room.  Marvellous!!

The hotel owner directed me to a shop close by and I was able to buy the few essentials that I needed.  It was at this time that I realised I would be needing to find a cash point quite soon. Well, if you ever visit Lunahuaná, be sure to take some money with you as there are no cash machines. This can have a serious impact on your day´s activities. It certainly did on mine.

Basically, I was stuffed. I could afford some of the activities but would almost certainly have needed to buy a change of clothes. I did however have enough money for breakfast.  What a shame then, when the large jug of papaya juice had to be rejected because of the onion additive.  I am all for trying new flavours or combinations of flavours but this just did not do it for me.IMG_0123

Breakfast was not as good as the previous day, sadly, not even worthy of a tip.  Never  mind, off we went around town looking at all the activities on offer. Sonia paid a visit to a bank, where she could withdraw money over the counter. It was confirmed to me at this time that there definitely were no cash machines in the area.

We made our way back to the hotel ready to check out. A group of people were just preparing to set off on a short tour on quads. There were some extremely young people among them. I mean, kids. Scary.  The hotel owner showed us a slideshow of a zipwire nearby, which looked great, right up until the time you had to get off it. I am up for an adventure but my leg is still not as strong as it should be and I have to say that I wimped out. I am sure that I will have other opportunities before long.

Eventually it was decided that we would go to another place, further upriver, Catapalla, where we could visit a vineyard and sample the wine.   It was just a short ride in a taxi and when we arrived, there was full sunshine.DSCN0939

There was a sweet little suspension bridge to cross in order to get to the vineyard.               .DSCN0934 My friend Sonia with her daughter Diana.DSCN0944And a sweet little old man.

I passed up the opportunity to go horse riding againDSCN0949and we made our way to the vineyard. It was at this point, I am sorry to say, that the battery in my camera went flat. Leaving me with just the ipod for taking pics. Not to worry though, we arrived just in time to be given a free lunch. Apparently, that is normal here. There was a good size crowd and we were all given a dish of noodles with a portion of chicken. Very tasty.

After lunch we went to the wine tasting and presentation. I can verify that neat Pisco is quite strong, I have had a sore throat for three days. We were also treated to various types of honey, perhaps to nullify the Pisco. If that was the case, it did not work. Tour over, it was time to cross back over the River Cañete and get a taxi back to Lunahuaná.

It was quite busy, and there were not many taxis so we had to wait a short while. Eventually, Sonia flagged down a taxi. She got in the back, I got into the front passenger seat and as Diana got in next to her mother, other people started to get in.  I was immediately unhappy with the situation as this was just a small family type car, five people maximum. Well,with me in the front and four people behind me, the driver was then shepherding people into the hatchback part of the vehicle. And then amazingly, the door opened beside me and a woman attempted to get in the front with me.

Totally perplexed, I decided in this instance, enough was too much. I pushed the woman back out of the car and shut the door. There then followed my first full on argument in Spanish. Well it was probably in gibberish from my side but I was adamant I was not allowing another person in the front with me. I proceeded to give a lecture on health and safety, followed by a lecture on treating tourists with respect if they wanted their money, followed by a lecture on how crap a person and how crap a driver he was. I was aware that I may have been embarrassing my companions but no, Diana said she was embarrassed on behalf of her country and Sonia was berating the driver for treating tourists so disrespectfully.

I had become accustomed to the lack of personal space due to the overcrowding in the buses but my main objection in this case was that he would not have proper control of the vehicle. That would be bad enough on a good straight road but this was on a bendy mountain road with some nasty drops into the river below.

I did offer to get out and walk, allowing the woman to have my seat but he would not have gained from that. He eventually squeezed her in the boot area with two or three others. I lost count in the end but there were nine, possibly ten people in a five seater car. There was not much else said on the trip back to Lunahuaná, just a gesture after we transferred onto a minibus.

Finally, some praise for the driver of the inter city bus we travelled back to Lima on. In my previous post, I said that the driver who drove us from Lima was shit. Well the driver on the return trip was a true professional and it was nice to see, particularly as we travelled through heavy rain for much of the journey.

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