On the buses
Date: 30th July – 7th August 2012
Where: Namballe – San Ignacio – Jaen – Chachpoyas – Trujillo
Distance: 4252 to 4281 miles
Unfortunately our first impressions of Peru continued as a long exhausting day of gentle gradient took us to San Ignacio. A dirty city with hiked-up prices for their hotels (it was a festival, we only found space at the tenth hotel we asked). We were lucky to meet a German couple cycling the world who gave us some great tips for Peru and particularly Bolivia. Turns out we will need to learn how to use a pressure cooker…20 minutes cooking instead of 2 hours at altitude!
By now we had done 8 days of continuous cycling and we were due a rest day so we got on the bus to Jaen bikes strapped less than securely to the roof of a combi.
The theme was to continue the next day as we took 3 combis to Chachapoyas. After so much time on a bike travelling by bus was really stressful. En route three of us managed to pick up stomach bugs and spent the night taking turns on the toilet. After 2 days of rest we were well enough to make the trip to the fortress of Kuelap occupied by the Chachapoyans (and then briefly by the Incas). These ruins were really impressive, and bode well for the many archaelogical sites in Peru. On returning to Chachapoyas we packed our stuff and rolled into the bus station to begin the last leg of this part of the journey: the night bus to Chiclayo, followed by a 3-hour bus to Trujillo. This leg has been traditionally done by bus to avoid the town of Paijan where a number of cyclists have been robbed in recent times. We however have the second reason that we need to get to Bolivia by early October to ensure we are in the dry season…expect more buses as we go through Peru.
Trujillo proved to be a pleasant surprise with friendly people, lovely architecture and a mild climate even though it is virtually at sea level. It also happens to be the home of one of the more famous casa de ciclistas in South America. Lucho has been hosting since 1985 and reading his visitor’s book was like a who’s who of cycle touring. We found Rodolfo who we stayed with in Belize, Steve who jumped out the taxi and directed us to the hotel in Cuenca, plus numerous others whose videos we’ve watched on you tube. The remarkable thing is that Lucho remembers them all and is still a grounded lovely man. He stayed up till midnight one night trueing our wheels and servicing all our hubs. Lucho will also join us with some friends for the day’s ride out of Trujillo to Chao. We wish him, and his family all the best for the future and hope every cycle tourist pays him a visit and tries his wife’s cake :-).