Monday 28 May 2018

Day 48 To Ayacucho

May 18th, 2018

VERY hot and sunny, no cloud. Will this sweltering weather ever stop!

Out and up, a cycle through the town and then a very long push. Is this all I ever do? Why did I choose to go over The Andes? What was I expecting? they are mountains, big and high mountains! Mile after mile and then sweet delight, the road descends for mile after mile. Such a strange cycling tour when I seem to spend my time either pushing because the gradient is too steep for me to be able to cycle my heavy bike or plummeting where I don;t need to pedal.
After an attempt at getting a coffee at a roadside cafe, unsuccessfully but I did enjoy the company of two woman with a playful little girl, who loved hide and seek. One problem, there was only one place to hide, behind a support post. I found out what pedalling was like for the next ten miles or so as the road went through villages and along a brook valley before once more, a steep climb began than ended in a very long, dirty, plastic-strewn road ascending into the city of Ayacucho. A group of late teenage lads join me and walk with me along the road, chatting about football and travels, Peru etc. I don't notice at first but a lady, who I had seen with a group of ladies digging a trench with large shovels, they make ladies tough here, is pushing my bike uphill from behind. Turning around and seeing why the pushing had got easier we laugh together and I thank her by giving her a bottle of juice. One of the lads wants to try to cycle to the bike up the hill. “Be my guest,” I gesture. He soon falls off having not gone a metre. As we walk together I show them the state of my boots. The sole has completely come off one and the cardboard I placed inside to give some semblance of comfort can be seen.
Into the city itself I find a hostel and find that I have to carry everything, bike and all, up three floors to my dingy room at the back. The girl on the desk is too serious to find the funny side in all of this.
Off to explore the city, the Plaza is similar in design to Cusco's but not as large. Obviously very Spanish with archway walkways and geometric flower beds surrounding a large statue in the middle. There are mature trees with flowers and Rufous-collared Sparrows and eared Doves. A large church at the east side of the square is closed. I need to search for some shoes and find some shoe shops adjacent to the market a couple of blocks away from the square. Immediately I encounter what is going to be a problem. Shoe sizes available here are nowhere near my shoe size! Their largest is 42. I need at least a 46. I should have realised this before but hindsight is a wonderful thing. I buy the largest they have got and throw away my broken down wreck of boots.

Green Year list : 196 birds average new birds to list per day : 4.08 birds

Distance walked : 35.06 miles

elevation : up 4,206 feet, down 3,861 feet

altitude : 9,021 feet

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