From a flash hotel to camping in hobbiton, we have certainly enjoyed the variety of places to spend afternoons relaxing after a mornings biking. With the road seeming to know only one direction – up – we are forced to cover short distances but it keeps at bay ‘mal de Montana’ or altitude sickness.
From Arequipa we toiled slowly up thru the increasingly poorer suburbs till finally we hit the open road, we had only to contend with cars and busses but on the edge of town the trucks joined us. Luckily there is a good shoulder and the drivers seem pretty good at giving us space as well as a friendly toot. At the first seemingly ugly town with a massive concrete factory we were flagging with the heat and couldn’t contemplate a further 600m climb to the next known (from google earth) cluster of buildings where we hoped to get water so we got directions for possible accommodation. The countryside we had been biking thru was as arid, volcanica so we were blown away with the wee oasis we descended into, complete with thermal pools and the only accommodation, a flash looking hotel.
Apart from a defunct solar hot water system and no dinner cook (and grump manager) we enjoyed a swim, relaxing on our balcony and taking over the kitchen to cook dinner. The next day we enjoyed the 600m climb in the cooler of the morn and gambled on a descent off the highway to a green valley and houses (from the known security of camping near a police vehicle checkpoint on the main highway) and we struck lucky with a camp inside the village sports area, water and a fence to keep the local dogs out and had a great afternoon even getting my first hair wash of the trip in. We had our first really good night sleep here.
Unfortunately Alan has broken his Kindle screen, so we are reading to each other as a before sleep entertainment.
The following day, more up, thru the arid volcanic landscape and the ever present volcan Chacani, and three other large volcanoes in the distance. We found our google earth spotted town and biked off the road and around the barrier with slight trepidation. Our first encounter was with an old farmer taking his produce to the main road on donkeys. Very welcoming. Camping – no problem, water – yes. It is a semi deserted railway town, the young folk are in the cities, the older folk are tending their crops and cows. Many of the small houses have thatched roofs (hence Hobbiton) and there is no electricity. It is Alan’s turn to scrub up with a shave. We are getting into the swing of things..