After the amazing Huayhuash Circuit ride, we realized that riding on really steep rocky dirt road with extremely high passes (up to 4900m) is not our cup of tea. Personally, I love bike touring because it feels like a meditation in motion. My body is active, my mind is alert and I love to be able to get in the zone, pushing my body, controlling my breath, alert of my surrounding, yet being able to think inwardly for the majority of the time. The high passes, the diluted oxygen and the constant worry about finding a path on very rocky, pothole-y dirt road, and the uber low speed (3mph!) on the steep dirt road does not allow me to be in the zone. The downhill is not much better either- having to constantly break on very steep hills, we had to stop every kilometer or so because our hands were so sore. Maybe we have not given it much chances yet, but I am sure the time will come sooner or later.
That said- after spending time at Huaraz, we regrouped and tried to find more paved road. We are not super averse on riding dirt road, just not all.the.time.
Being an obsessive planner, changing plans are a little difficult for me- I guess this is a good learning experience for me.
I came up with a route- first we had to take the bus to La Union, then head East and down on the other side (East side) of Andes. I scoured through the maps and found what we thought was the best solution to having majority of the route on “pista” (paved road) through some large cities for provisions and occasional showers.
Here is Brady- ready to start again on the bicycle in front of a plaza-
Alas, after two days of riding, we found out that the route that we picked were the equivalent of Hwy 5— it was jam packed with large busses and trucks. It’s the artery of transportation North-South on the other side of Andes. We spent a couple of days battling the dust (it’s desserty, hot and dry there!). We also passed a VERY LARGE town- Huanuco. Not so fun for riding. After reaching Ambo, we decided to take the bus to Lima.
Waiting for the bus in Ambo.
Brady really missed surfing! So we decided to hell— we’re already in Peru, why not, let’s try and surf Chicama, the longest wave in the world, approximately 8 hours bus ride North of Lima, near the town of Trujillo.
What was supposed to be an 9 hour bus ride from Ambo to Lima (night bus), turned out to be 23.5 hours!! There was a tanker truck that fell on its side and completely closed the two-lane freeway that we were on. We were supposed to arrive at 6AM, but ended up getting to Lima at 9PM.
The joy of Lima! To backtrack a little bit, there are only very few options of food in Peru- at least the Andes where we were at. They have Caldo de Gallina (chicken soup), Lomo saltado, fried trout, and Chifa (mound of rice- Chinese food). But that’s about it! And we have been consuming the same food over again on repeat (with barely any vegetables)! But Lima!!! They have SUSHI! and CEVICHE! and BURGER! and STARBUCKS! and buffet of CAKES! and MANHATTAN!! We were in food heaven.
We surfed every day in Lima in the three days that we stayed there. The waves were surprisingly amazing and the beach was walking distance to where we were staying (Miraflores). We splurged and ate at the best restaurants. It was VERY expensive in Lima in comparison to the Peru standard that we had been used to— things cost at least 3-5 times as much. In the Andes, we were able to eat for 5-10 soles per person. In lima, it was more like 50 soles! (Only $17USD, but still!!)
I had lost 6-8lbs prior to Lima, but promptly gained it back in Lima in a few days with the amazing food and the alcohol consumption.
We even went up to a place that had six hours of all sorts of Peruvian traditional dances (Peña) at Barranco (hipster district of Lima) called La Candelaria.
Next up— waves in Huanchaco and Chicama.