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Beautiful Kaos

PERU | Monday, 14 August 2006 | Views [1761]

View of the Cordillera blanca on the way back to Huaraz...

View of the Cordillera blanca on the way back to Huaraz...

Well, I have been in a city North of Lima for the last 3 days called Huarraz, the gateway to the Cordillera blanca, in the department of Ancash (meaning "blue" in Quechua, named so, to me, for quite obvious reasons involving the quality of the skies here and the amazing colours of the many lakes) and in my opinion, one of the most amazing and breathtaking places in the whole world. I did not know that so much beauty existed in such a small area.

The city of Huarraz itself is not in the least impressive. In an earthquake of 31st May, 1970, 80% of the city was destroyed, leaving it in a little bit of a mess. This earthquake also created an avalanche on Huasquaran, the highest peak in the country, completely burrying the city of Yunguy, also in this department, killing over 5000 people smothered in a sea of granite and snow. As for the surrouds of this city; no amount of words or photos can demonstrate the awe inspiring scenery. The cordillera Blanca consists of about 50 snow capped peaks of over 5000m, crammed into a 50 x 180km area. No room for disappointment.

The life here, especially once you get out of the city a little, is still very traditional and really beautiful to watch. Technologically and financially a little behind, the farmers still work the fields as they would have 100 years ago. Dress and custom are still followed in a round about way. Driving on the country roads, there are many near collisions with cows, sheep and other farm animals roaming the pastures, farm dogs chasing the cars and buses and people wheeling carts or simply walking in the middle of the road. Constant horn beeping shocks me out of my scenic day dreaming but you cannot help but observe such a hard but beautiful life with anything but a smile on your face. This kind of experience is something that in a country as developed as Australia you will never get to see. Despite much of the disorganized kaos, there is just so much to love.

I have spent the last three days on guided tours, which generally I really do not like to do, but seeing as I only had a limited amount of time here, I wanted to get the most out of it.

The first day that I arrived I went on a trip to Huascaran, the highest peak in Peru, where we  first visited the old site of the city Yunguy (which I mentioned earlier) seeing the sheer devistation caused) and then went to this lake behind Huascaran which was the most beautiful and unbelievable turquoise colour that I have ever seen. On return, we visted a store in a small village which sold sweets typical of this area - the caramel was amazingly good! And then we returned back to the city...

Yesterday, We went to an Inca site called Chavin which was interesting but the guide was a Nazi so that sort of put a damper on things a little... But the bus trip there was stunning (Yet again), mountains, snow and lakes so I was not complaining in the least!

Today must have been the most amazing of the three trips... I went to Pastoruri which is a mountain south of Huarraz where we climbed to reach a glacier at about 5300m... Doing anything at that altitude makes you feel like you have chronic fatigue syndrome but I have to say that the 1 hour huff-puff was worth ever part of the effort as the views were great...

Tomorrow I am off to Lima to go on to Cuzco, which I have been told is even better than here (that I highly doubt...)... But I have plans to maybe return here when I have little more time to do some serious trecking in the mountains.

Ciao

C

Ps. I will try and put all my photos up from the last month ASAP!!!

Tags: Adventures

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