September 2nd, 2008 – by: skydiver
View from our hostel.
I still felt sleepy but each time I opened an eye I could catch a tiny bit of the Peruvian countryside out there while our bus was moving. There were hills all around and we passed one curve after another. Ayacucho was supposed to have an elevation of some 2.750 meters above sea level, just a preparation for what expected us in Cuzco with its 3.600 meters. Visiting Ayacucho was my idea. There has been the option to take a flight from Lima to Cuzco directly and especially Dan was up for it, but I thought getting from sea level to those heights so quickly might cause our bodies some problems. Nobody of us knew at that point that one of us will really get the high altitude sickness later. Taking the bus to Cuzco would have taken too long, Ayacucho seemed like the perfect stop in between.
Not as touristic as some other popular places in Peru and at a height we were supposed to have no problems.
View from our hostel.
Pavel has been awake for a while already, he never sleeps much in buses or trains. Don’t envy him at all. It’s not like he wouldn’t like to, he just can’t. He said that few minutes after our departure from Lima the stewardess was reparting some snack boxes, but all 3 of us were already sleeping…except of Pavel as usual.
It was still early morning when I discovered a town below us, we were entering Ayacucho. When we finally got out of the bus I had to close my jacket.
It was pretty fresh outside…the air was cold but clean like it is usual in mountain regions. Before starting looking for an accommodation we decided to check the bus to Cuzco for the next day first. Would have been great if there will be any bus of the company “Cruz del sur” heading there. But no, unfortunately not. Yadi gave me in Lima the names of some trustworth bus companies, so we tried to find them. Asking around we found out that each bus company had its own bus terminal or departure place. And that there seemed to be just one company going to Cuzco…los Chankas. Of course it wasn’t on my list of trustworth companies. We visited 3 different terminals and everywhere I got the same answer, only los Chankas offered rides to Cuzco. Meanwhile we go to one of the main roads which was closed for traffic. We noticed a hotel there so we decided to ask for the prices. An older lady was sitting there, she obviously spoke only Spanish.
Dan fooling around in our hostel.
No problem for me. The price she said wasn’t too bad, but we hoped to get it a bit cheaper. But before we would proceed with the discussion about the prices I wanted to see the rooms first. The first double room was OK, but in the second one there was no warm water coming in the shower when I tried it. An old problem in some places in South America. The lady leaded me immediately into another room and there the warm water suddenly came even if it took a little while. We were all quite tired so we decided to take the rooms. Finally a shower, I felt like in heaven. The last time I was able to take a shower was in Madrid!!! After me and Pavel were done with showering we left our friends in the hotel and went to buy the bus tickets at the los Chankas terminal, we gave up looking for other options. Obviously there weren’t any. On the way back we bought some water and then it was time to take a little nap to recharge our baterries.
In the afternoon we went out to get some lunch and for some sightseeing.
Ayacucho isn’t that big and we couldn’t see almost any foreigners around. Good. I wanted to enjoy the real Peruvian atmosphere.
Ayacucho’s main attractions are located at the town center, a 17th century cathedral and some nice old mansions. Around was a dozen of other churches from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, really a nice place. The “Plaza de armas” ( Square of the weapons) as the main square are usually
called in Peru had a typical South American quadratic form and was a place for local people to hang around.
The rest of the day we’ve been just walking around, visited even the local market and observed the life around us. In the evening we went out for some dinner and some tea and that was it. Next day we had to get up early, our bus was leaving at 8am already. We would be ready.