Lares Day 2 - amazing scenery and villagers

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Woken up early by the music playing from various radios at about 5.30am. Peruvians are a lot better at getting up than us gringos. Have breakfast of porridge and pancakes and can hardly move. I am particularly nervous today as I know it is a steeper walk and I am not convinced by my current fitness.

After breakfast we decided to buy a lamb, like you do, for 30 Soles. This will be our dinner. Dave watches it being skinned and fileted while I wimp out.

We then start our walk to our camp for tonight, Patacancha. It is initially relatively steep up a hillside where we pass small farms growing potatoes (there are HUNDREDS of varieties of these in Peru makes us look boring), onions, cabbages, etc. They operate a commune like system working on each others farms. We pass the occasional child who is spinning with a wooden bobbin (if thats what they are called) or a man with a llama train or a family with their horses. Is really fantastic to see, esp as there are no other tourists (we saw about 6 yesterday at the baths and at the start of the walk but thats it).

We carry on up which is quite steep but zig zagging and we catch up with Erasnus and Enrique although they left well after us (puts me to shame). Further up the pass we start to see the mountains becoming snowcapped. Is absolutely beautiful. Roberto tells us that the whole of the area used to be covered in snow but since about 1996 the snow has gone due to the greenhouse effect.

At the top of the mountain we get a great view of the valley, streams and small houses and plots of land, all farmed, regardless of height in terraces. We look at the lichen and moss they use for fuel and all the other plants they use for medicines. They really dont waste anything here, they cant afford to. It really makes you think about how much we take for granted at home.

At the top we see some dry lakes but further in the distance there is a huge lake and llamas all the way up the mountain, only photos can do this justice, as ever. I am glad to reach the top although it hasnt been that difficult and the views are definitely worth it.

We then start downhill towards the huge lake and then spot our tents for lunch. Just as we are about to sit down a hail storm starts and continues for about an hour pelting it down. The ground is white when we start again, but it is good to keep moving as it does get cold when you stop.

We carry on downhill for another 2 1-2 hours along legeds and terraces built to stop landslides. We start to see more locals with different hats with beaded chin straps to keep them on. The kids seem to sense when we are coming and run up from their huts or somewhere we cant see for sweets. We stop and buy some handicrafts from a local woman which are handmade.

Then we see our destination but it takes a while to get downhill to the bigger village over small rivers and past a college. Locals speak more spanish here so we can semi communicate. We have been talking Spanish to Roberto and getting by ok but try to teach him some English too and the difference between slip and sleep and pronounciation. It is not easy.

We find the tents in another families back yard, without animals this time. We are pretty tired and rest in our tent awaiting the cooking of our lamb. It is going to be cooked pachamama stylee (or mother earth).

They are ready for the pachamama which involves a complex process and apparently is where pressure cookers originated (!).
1 Light a fire and heat stones over it, preferably over a grid or metal poles, for about an hour. Make sure the stones are not explosive as these can hurt
2 When the stones are very hot you can blow out the fire so it is just hot ash.
3 Start putting potatoes in their skins over the ash and allow some of the stones to go over them. Then add the lamb wrapped in paper and more potatoes and more stones. They should all be completely covered
4 Then put a potatoes cloth sack on top
5 Then put some straw on top
6 Then put a load of earth over it all
7 Cook for about 40 minutes uncover and serve as desired.

It was great to watch and ok to eat! Lamb was a bit dry and tough but the potatoes were great!

Are very cold as we go to sleep, think I got a chill from stopping when pretty clammy. Find it difficult to sleep as shivering so much. Dave is fine though, surprise, surprise!!
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