It is a pleasant suprise to find some old computers in Caylloma – even if the ´s´ key needs a hammer to make it work!
We left the tourist town of Chivay with me feeling under the weather but we only had a short day planned and our last day on ashfalt for a while. Suddenly the road was a lot quieter and Alan had his best day – his body is keeping pace with the altitude. We followed the Colca river to its upper reaches and found a small but warm room in a hostal in Sibayo.
Next day the ripio and climbing started both in earnest. We had 900m to climb and the first 600 came hard and fast but then flattened as we followed a lovely valley to the 4700m Abra Chungara. We are heading into mining country so unfortunately quite a few large trucks and workers busses kept the road quite rough and our dust tan looking good.
It was great to finally reach the summit and cruise down to the first village at 4400m. Alan spotted the shop sign and it turned out they had a room with bed in – more appealling than camping. It is warm by day (unless there is wind) but very cold at night. there is no heating in the houses but with the 10-12 hours of sun the thermal mass of the buildings do keep things a little warmer at night.
It was a bumpy half day to Caylloma, a largish town where most of the employment is in the sorrounding mines, so the hostals are full of mine workers. Luckily we find a room for 2 nights. We sat in the plaza this morning watching all the school kids of the town gearing up for a football tournement. Talking to a grandmother we find that very few foreigners make it to Caylloma – hence all the stares we get, but a smile and a buenas dias always break the ice and people are very friendly
AND we have the dogs sorted – stop, face up to them and throw the odd stone if needed. It is working well.
Our next 10 days takes us to terrain that rarely dips below 4500m and the second half is, from our beta, rough and tough – hope we can match it…