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In the mountains

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Last weekend I was on a desert (see below). This time - complete change of climate. With Szymon (Pol) and Sandra (Mex) I went into the mountains, to Huaraz. We left Lima on Friday. First we had some difficulties to find a bus company, that would take us to Huaraz, because they didn't have tickets anymore. Finally we found one quite comfortable bus going there. Interesting fact: just before boarding a bus everybody had to leave their fingerprints. In the morning we arrived in Huaraz. The city is located 3100 m above sea level, around 420 km from Lima. After visiting tourists information we started looking for place where you can buy coca leaves. They say that chewing it helps fight with altitude sickness. We went to market where you can buy literary everything - from clothes to food (e.g. fruits, raw fish, meat, etc.). We also found leaves. Their taste is horrible, I don't know if it really helps. Maybe at least it doesn't get worse. After we found a hotel, which costs only S/.10, first aim was Mirador. It's a hill from which you can see whole Huaraz and you should have great view to all Cordillera. Unfortunately that day was cloudy, and we couldn't see much (photo above). Next point was village Marián. From this village you can get to Willcahuain. Willcahuan are ruins of pre-inca culture that used to live there almost 2 thousands years ago. What you can see around is so much different from what I saw so far in Peru. It's like completely different country. People live their lives working on fields, breeding cows, sheeps, goats and llamas. They didn't stop their work, but only kids seemed surprised by the tourists. Asking for directions can be really tricky. Everybody was giving other information. Where are the ruins? "Straight ahead", "left", "right". How far away? "35 minutes." "4 hours", "Oh, very far". It started to rain. Seems normal thing, but for me it was first rain since few months. In Lima never rains. We reached the ruins. Until today I'm not sure if those were the right ruins. If so, then they are in perfect condition, surprisingly how it survived all those hundreds or thousands of years. After coming back we wanted to go to banos termales, but it was already closed. So we went to eat some Peruvian food, which was cuy, chicharon and trucha frita. Day two. When Szymon said in the morning, that he wants to go to the mountains, to Pastoruri which is over 5000 meters high, I didn't believe that we would all go there. But one hour later we were sitting in the bus that took us for the trip. Along the way were many stops, first to drink mate de coca, then to see and try natural mineral water (with lot of iron in it) - Aguas Gasificadas, see some interesting plants called Puya Raymondi... Finally we reached Pastoruri. From there we needed to walk around 2 km to the glacier. This trip was very "commercialized". On every step you met people offering you something, from chocolates to pictures with lamas. At this altitude you could feel lack of oxygen. I saw people who were not able to walk and were carried down on the shoulders. To go up, take pictures and go back it took around two hours. Then we went back the same road down. Some food in tourist's restaurant, and then back to Huaraz. Later that day we still went for while to a bar to dance some salsa, and then to bus terminal to go back to Lima. I arrived in Lima at 6.30 Monday morning. Went back home, had shower, one hour of sleep and then to work.

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