We're finally going round the world! travel blog

 

 

The road we're travelling on

A breathtaking, unforgetable view

 

 

I wish this chicken would get off my back!!

Such a hard life (for the chicken at least - he's falling...

Restauraut Novoa El Paisita where we stopped for lunch

 

We came from that road all the way over there on the...

 

Another road on the top of the mountain

Another breath-taking view!

 

 

Our bus

Hit it harder!!

 

 

One very heavy rock!

There it goes down the valley

Hiding in the bushes

Repairing the road

There goes the first truck over the repaired road!

 

Here goes our bus

Here is the what the landslide looks like (the repaired bit is...

 

 

 

A pretty view (and our road)

 

Our cool motor-taxi

The main plaza with an indegenous lady knitting

 

 

Very funky hats!

 

Pretty sunflower and more cool hats


We'd heard that the journey from Chachapoyas to Celendin was beautiful, so we couldn't resist it. We began to think twice, though, when we found out that the bus to Celendín leaves only three times a week, and at 2am!! But we were already in Chacha, so we grudgingly got up at half one(!) and made our way to the terminal. When the sun rose, ater 4 hours of driving through the darkness, we stopped for a while at one of many villages that seem to be lost in the mountains. We travelled for some hours along rivers, and the edges of mountains: it felt pretty safe, and the scenery was lovely. And then, as we came over the ridge of one mountain, the whole range seemed to open up below us and stretch away forever, some illuminated by sun rays escaping the high cloud cover, others so far away that their blue almost blended with the clouds. It was one of the most beautiful things we've seen, and it easily made the 2am start, the decidedly less-than-comfy bus, the frequent ear-splitting horn use, and the hours of toilet-less travel(!) worth it. We couldn’t believe our eyes (Da kept saying "Do you see it?!"), and our bus kept climbing along the very narrow mountain-edge roads above the clouds with these spectacular views for hours: we were transfixed. Almost as unbelievable as the view, were the isolated homes and farms there. At one point, a lady with a tiny baby left the bus at a little mud and stone hut by the side of the road. She had a huge bag of rice and provisions, but there wasn't another building in sight - just the view of the clouds below and the huge expanse of mountains! We watched our water bottles expand and deflate many times as we went up one mountain and down another, and from one gorgeous view to another, and the road started to get a little trickier(!). Early on, Da had been doing well with the vertical cliff-side drops: the dirt roads seemed relatively smooth (and we'd been on worse!). He started to worry more though as we started to pass beautiful waterfalls that fell onto or under the road (we crossed one on wooden planks!), and evidence of landslides became more numerous. The piles of rubble that we had to drive over got bigger, and more and more we edged close to the mountainsides to avoid the large holes where the road had disappeared into the near vertical valley below (Da hid his his eyes a lot!!). Ten hours into our journey, we had to stop because trucks were blocking the road. We all got off and walked round them to a group of men who were taking it in turns to hit a large bolder with a hammer. The rock had fallen into the road, blocking our way and causing part of the road to collapse so that it wasn't wide enough for a car to pass, let alone the 4 waiting trucks and our bus! Once the men from our bus had had their turn at rock hitting too (Da resisted the temptation!), and some small shards had broken off, they combined their efforts, and with the help of a crowbar and a hose pipe(!), managed to role the bolder off the cliff-side. The only problem left was the gaping hole on the road edge. They solved it, eventually, by dragging semi-flat rocks to the hole while one unfortunate soul stood on the cliff edge trying to fit it in and prevent it from falling off the edge. Then everyone helped to scrape the remaining dirt from the landslide over the rocks and stamp it down: road fixed! Everyone watched (and held a collective breath) as the first truck drove over the less than perfect road. Soon it was our bus driver’s turn (brave man - us passengers waited on the other side!). Three hours, and a couple more stops while less difficult road repairs were made, later (during which Da read his book to ignore the narrower roads and even steeper cliff edges!) we pulled into the dusty town of Celendín. After 13 hours of travelling, we decided to stay the night, and were glad we did because it's probably the most untouched (by tourism) Peruvian town we'll see. We got a (very cool) motortaxi to our hostel, passing lots of local people in their straw hats and traditional dress, and then spent most of the early evening relaxing in the pretty central square people watching.



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