Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 20, 2009

San Jeronimo to Ocros

We woke up too early for breakfast in our hotel so we decided to go for a walk, passing an interesting wall decoration on the way down the stairs!

The market next door to the hotel was just opening up so we wandered around for awhile taking photos.

After a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit, bread and jam, we checked out of the hotel and found the road out of town. The road was even worse than yesterday so we finally asked a bus driver if it would get worse or better on the way to Andahuaylas. He laughed and said,"Sometimes better, sometimes worse." He was right! We kept climbing above the tree line. The GPS said 13,900 feet. We stopped to photograph some men slaughtering a bull. Most of the traffic consisted of big double decker buses flying around curves. Luckily, we were going slow enough that we didn't have any close calls!

We stopped for lunch in Chinchero and had the menu of the day in a small restaurant - chicken soup, chicken and rice with garlic, cherry Jello, and Kool-aid to drink. We were sure to take our antibiotics after lunch!

We crossed the river and the road continued to get worse. Once section was being repaired and we could drive 50 km an hour but it didn't last. We could see heavy rain coming across the valley so we decided to try and find a place to spend the night. There was one hostal on the square in the small mountain village of Orcos. They rented by the bed and our room had two beds so we rented both of them for $5. It was a good thing we took both because a trucker came in during the night wanting a bed!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

February 19, 2009

Cusco to San Jeronimo

Today we left Cusco to start our drive back to Lima. We drove along the coast to get here but are driving back through the mountains. On the map, it looks like a good, major road, but the research we've done at the South American Explorers' Club indicates that the road is often impassable and very rough. We've driven on one-lane dirt roads all over the world and feel confident that this one can't be much worse (Hah!) It does include the highest navigable road in the world and I can imagine that the landscape will be beautiful. The red line on the map shows our route here and the blue one is our planned route back:

We had traveled on the road as far as Abancay before so that wasn't a problem. Then we turned north toward Andahuaylas and the road immediately turned to dirt - a surprise since the map showed it as "all-weather surfaced". I guess it was, but the surface was dirt!

We stopped on the side of the road for a lunch of our leftovers from the apartment. The road climbed up through beautiful countryside but it's very narrow with sheer drop-offs on each side. The GPS shows 13,900 feet.

There's almost no traffic but quite a few beautiful Quechua women and children herding sheep and goats along the road. I'm glad we carried candy in the car as gifts!

We stopped at an overlook with a public toilet in the middle of nowhere!

As it gets later, it's obvious that we won't make Andahuaylas before dark. We met several double-decker buses on the narrow road and had to back up to find a place wide enough for both of us! We finally arrived in San Jeronimo and found a hotel with a car park and a restaurant across the street. It wasn't four star, but was fine for the night.

We drove 345 kilometers today in 10 hours.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

February 18, 2009


We spent today buying last minute gifts and packing. Packing is always a challenge because Tom collects walking canes and masks that have to be wrapped carefully. We bought a straw basket at the market and some plastic tubing in a hardware store. Everything also has to fit inside our little rental car since we'll be driving back over several days. We finally finished packing everything at 8 PM and are ready for our adventure tomorrow.