Through a mining town and valley

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Junín,
Saturday, January 26, 2013

We woke up to a frost covered tent, a crisp, fresh morning air but a clear, blue sky that suggested we would have a sunny day ahead. As the sun rose above the mountains it warmed us up, as we packed up the tent and got ready for another day. We had a long day ahead of us to make it to Juaja but it was mainly slightly downhill so we hoped to complete the day fairly easily.

The road descended through the valley and after an hour of riding we arrived into La Oroya, which was a mining town, surrounded by a scarred hillside landscape. The town had a “wild west” feel and Kory said that it felt a lot like the mining towns in British Columbia to him. We cycled through the small town slowly as it had a nice feel to it and we wanted to take some photos of the mining area. It had been named in the Top 10 most polluted cities in the world a few years ago, but today at least the air was clear and it was a pleasant place to be. What made it the best though was that we saw a street stall seller selling ham sandwiches, like proper glazed ham that you would get at home. We haven't seen anything remotely similar since arriving here, and most “ham” is a slice of cheap, horrible hotdog sausage. You can imagine our delight when she said it was 1 Soles (40 cents) per sandwich and you can imagine her delight when we ordered 7. I stopped at 3, but Kory had to one better me!
After our morning snack we continued on into the quarry like landscape, and were surprised by the little amount of traffic on the road. I had been expecting lots of mining trucks but there was very little to slow us down. We continued through the valley, following the river and also a railway line, which is the second highest in the world. We stopped to look at some Vicuņas, which are similar to llamas (at least we think they were Vicuņas and not llamas but it is hard to tell).
We continued at a good pace, along the rolling hills, which were slightly more downhill than uphill and covered 75km by the time we stopped for lunch. We pulled into a small restaurant, where the waitress seemed really starstruck to be serving a couple of white people and giggled her way through telling us what was on the menu. It was quite cute and we wondered when the last time was she served some western people. Lunch was a simple soup, followed by egg fried rice with beef, which made a change from the usual chicken and rice.
We were really lucky because the heavens opened for a quick shower whilst we were in the restaurant eating lunch. By the time we were back on the road the weather was nice again and it was clear for the rest of the afternoon. We continued to make good time during the rest of the afternoon, and enjoyed cycling through a small valley, with a few little villages and farming on either side. Again the road was really quiet and we were able to maintain a good pace.

After cycling 110km we arrived into Jauja at around 4pm, which was a bit later than we had been hoping to arrive in. We had read that Jauja was an old, colonial town, and it sounded like a good place for us to spend a few days off the bikes. When we arrived in the town was much smaller and much more rustic than I had been expecting. There were very few accommodation options, and we didn't get an answer when we knocked at the two hotels recommended in the guide book. The next hotel asked for about three times more than we usually pay for a similar room. By the time we found a simple hotel we had wasted over an hour and I had already written off the town. We checked into a basic room, with the intention of leaving tomorrow.

We went to a near by restaurant for a roasted chicken, as they are really popular here in the central highlands and we don't know when we will no longer be able to get hold of them. Then we came back to the room to watch a movie on my laptop, before Kory went back out again to have another quarter of roasted chicken with chips and salad.
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Gramma on

Sure sounds like you's work up a good apetite. The scenery seems beautiful, I love those llamas. I wonder if they grow them for food??? Love and hugs.

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