Finally making it to our Christmas Holidays
Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
136Trip End Apr 20, 2013
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We initially cycled along by the coast and then the road went more inland. The area was barren, with very little vegetation and no agriculture, as the soil was dry and dusty. The area was a desert with dry, red soil and dried out riverbeds. Once we were back on the coast again we would occasionally cycle passed a house or two or a hotel near the sea
We stopped in the middle of nowhere and feasted on a couple of mangoes that we had bought in the morning before leaving town. They were really tasty and juicy and along with lots of water they helped to quench our thirst from the dry heat. Unfortunately there wasn't any shade to be seen, so we just sat on the side of the road.
As we continued onwards we were surprised at how little traffic there was on the road, as it was a major highway and a good road. The majority of the traffic was cars or vans packed with families, with luggage strapped to the roof, who were obviously going somewhere for the Christmas period. About half way through the day we came across a small restaurant on the beach, which had numerous loaded up family cars in the carpark. We decided to check it out and see if they were making lunch. The woman said she could make us a fillet of fish, with rice, chips and salad, and she also had cold drinks available. It sounded perfect! We sat on her shaded balcony overlooking the beach and watched children play in the waves, as she prepared our lunch
We continued along the quiet road, which was generally flat and would have been great if it wasn't for one thing; the wind. After our lunch stop the wind built up and blasted us in our faces for the rest of the afternoon. We plodded onwards and made hard work of the flat ground as the wind harassed us. We were both exhausted when we finally arrived into Mancora, as we had completed a long hard push to get there in time for Christmas. After 750km, our bodies were still up for the challenge but we were losing motivation and feeling ready for a break. Surprisingly the most sore area on my body was the palms of my hands, which had received a lot of pressure on them over the past week and having them in sweaty bike gloves all day probably hadn't helped. Of course, as soon as we stopped cycling and took a day off they were fine again.
Our first impressions of Mancora were something along the lines of “Oh, is that it?”, which may have been exacerbated by how hard we had worked to get there
We grabbed a beer at one of the restaurants and tried to make a plan of where to look for accommodation. As we sat on the restaurant's outdoor seating, two french guys came over and with limited English expressed that they thought it was great to see us and check out of bikes. They seemed to have got bikes here in Peru and were cycling up the coast a little way, as part of their bigger backpacking trip. Before they had asked which way we were heading they exclaimed “the wind is great, huh, you hardly have to pedal, it just pushes you along”. I wish!!! We cycled around town for a little while but struggled to get our bearings with all the construction and with having no map provided in the guide book
By the time we had our tent set up we were both starving, so quickly headed back to the restaurants that were open earlier in the day. We both tried cerviche for the first time, which is fresh fish that has been marinated in lime juice, with onions, chillies and coriander, and is served alongside some corn-nuts (hard sweetcorn) and banana crisps for a crunchy accompaniment. Following this, we had what can only be described as a prawn and vegetable omelette, with chips and salad, that is called a tortilla de langostinos. This meal in total cost us $3 each, which seemed much more reasonable for a South American dinner.