via Arequipa

Hitting the road tomorrow so now seemed like a good opportunity to sling up a quick post with some pics. In Arequipa at present in the south. I had thought I might go north to begin with but the wet season seems to be lingering much longer up that way (it’s an el Niño year)… and purely by chance an old riding friend happened to be flying into Peru from New Mexico earlier this week for some riding so it would have been rude not to have met up. Having a few days to get over the flight and the 17hr overnight bus journey from Lima to Arequipa has been a blessing, I picked up a bit of a chest bug on the flight.. it seems that I nearly always do on long haul…  however Arequipa is a lovely town to spend a few days resting, enjoying some fine Andean beers, and good food while making some plans for the trails ahead. It sits at an altitude of 2300m so the air is a little fresher than down on the coast and the temperatures a highly agreeable 23-25 degs or so in the sun with pleasantly chill nights.

From here it looks like a long climb, happily on dirt, of 90 miles, to 16,000ft enroute to Chivay and hence to Cotohuasi some 500km distant.. that’s as far as any planning has gone so far.  Expecting to take 3 days over the initial climb – to acclimatize, work the remains of this bug out of my chest, adapt to expedition riding again.. and purely to enjoy the mountains. There are a lot of volcanoes around here to appreciate. Arequipa sits in the shadow of one, El Misti, its summit at 19,000ft gleaming with a light dusting of snow.

Peru’s towns feel vastly more prosperous now than they did when I first visited 20 years ago (yikes), with a more stable political situation the middle classes have grown… the downside being more cars. Arequipa is pretty clogged, as was Lima. Looking forward to getting out into the mountains where life hasn’t really changed in a long time… in the meantime here are a few snaps.

Lima: I’d passed through the airport in Lima a few times but had never visited the city. This time I did… I try to avoid being negative about places, after all this is home to a very many people… but I did find it completely underwhelming. Just a smoggy, sprawling metropolis. Naturally I gravitated to the waterfront. Also nothing special – a somewhat scruffy strip with a bunch of tented ‘surf schools’ to serve the tourists.
Lima: As I understand it the water is pretty mucky.. not sure I’d surf in it, but apparently there are fish…
Lima: A few local fisherman work from the beach.
Arequipa: Andean beers are invariably good..
Arequipa: it’s a lovely town, kept tidy by legions of municipal workers.
Arequipa: colourful taxis

7 thoughts on “via Arequipa

  • Good to hear from you Mike and look forward to any of your experiences along the way. All ok here and me and mother have just got back from a couple of nights at Henry’s on the Lizard. Stunning down there. The weather is on the change with a few much needed showers forecasted.

  • Brilliant as always Mike – why are there so many poor photographs in the news media now, when you can do stuff like this. I used to buy the Observer on Sunday just for the photos.

    • you flatter me sir! Hey guess what, decided to stay an extra day in Arequipa, it’s so lovely, and now sitting in a bicycle cafe of all things drinking a pot of ‘Paris Roubaix’ blend tea… hehe.. happily it does not taste of blood, sweat, and mud :-)

  • Great – I’m back with the blog. I’ll make sure your Canadian fans are following – they keep asking if you are back blogging. We are off to Suffolk today, what a mundane life we lead in comparison ……….

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