arriving in Huancavelica
It wasn't not even noon, when we arrived in Huancavelica
. This was my 1st time here. I've been in small towns along the cost, but this will be my 1st time in a small town in Highlands, how amazing! And I was glad to be with Nathan, who was also looking forward to explore this almost forgotten city. He fall in love with Huancavelica when he read this was the Peruvian Swiss Alps, mmm. Well, there were lots of mountains, that's for sure, but no snow at all... maybe in winter. Hey! It was winter right now. Although the sun was shinning you could still feel it was a bit chilly the minute you went under the shadow.
The terminal wasn't that big or well organized, but it worked.
young boys selling snacks
According to the guide book, the bus terminal was located far away from the city center, but it was just a few blocks away. Yes, it wasn't that easy walking around with a backpack and with that high altitude, but it wasn't too bad either. We were young and loved the challenges. Just to be sure I asked a lady how far away was the main square and if we should take a cab, but she told me it was just walking distance and we could reach it easily. She was so right. In fact I noticed there were few taxis in Huancavelica, but some colectivos.
After walking for a bit and enjoyed the lovely scenery, it was amazing being surrounded by these high mountains, we arrived in the Main Square and I was looking for the recommended hotel. Mmm, we didn't see the 4th block and were already in the 5th, so maybe.
Ichu River divides the city in 2
.. Yes, the 4th block was right at the Main Square, how cool! Our hotel was located at the Main Square, sweet! How did we miss it? Well, there was no sign with the name of it, furthermore the Main Square was under construction, which made it difficult to find this place.
The hotel looked nice and according to the guy at the frontdesk they had hot water, which is extremely important when it's so cold, brrr. The rate was very convenient and we took it, yay! After leaving our stuff, it was time to start exploring Huancavelica. We'd only have the rest of the current day and the morning of next one, so better let's move! We decided to cross the river and visit the other part of the city.
The city looked very quiet and I was completely sure we were the only tourists there, nice! After crossing a bridge we saw some stairs with statues along it and they were leading to a hill where I was sure we'd get a lovely view from the entire town.
overlooking the town
Although it wasn't that high, it seemed to me that we were climbing for a long time. I guess it was the altitude, but we succeeded and the view was totally worth it. It's incredible to see this small town surrounded but such high mountains, great!
Once at the top, we decided to stay there for a while and enjoy the view and watch people. Mmm, it was one of the first times when I got in several pictures, hahaha. What a nice change :) This place was definitely quiet, what a contrast with the busy Lima
and also with Huancayo which is smaller than Lima but very busy too. We reached the stadium and in front of this, there was a group of ladies washing clothes, OMG! There was no way I'd have touched cold water in this weather.
trying to get some sun...
When I washed my hands it was almost painful! I even saw a girl who apparently had swom there, brrrrr.
Well, it was nice to keep on walking, since it was still early we decided to keep on exploring the area. Without knowing how, we arrived in "Asencion" which is another area of the city. What was going on there? Why did everyone go in a certain direction? We'd go with the flow. The Main Square entrances were blocked, you had to go through a special entrance. Once inside we noticed it. There was a celebration going on there. It was the 50th Anniversary of Asencion and all the people were celebrating. Wow! We arrived there perfect timing! Early in the morning there were some contests and they were giving away the prices. So bad we didn't make it for the camelids race, that might have been so awesome.
There also was a race to the top of a mountain, a very high one and the female and male champions did it in 38 and 30 minutes respectively. Incredible! Actually the best marathoners of the country come from this area. I mean, if you start running with such difficult conditions it makes totally sense you will have better conditions. Mmm, the snacks effect was already over. It was time to go and look for some food. There would be a party in the evening and we'd be back.
As usual when we were walking, something caught my attention. What was that? Food! hahaha. Well, I wasn't the only one, Nathan is same way, sweet! I couldn't help asking the girl what she was offering and it was "Chicharron de Coco". Fried coconut? That didn't sound so appealing, but she explained it wasn't fried but coated with sugar.
lady selling flowers' water
Whatever, let's try it. I love coconut and loved this! Now we weren't starving anymore, so we could walk slowly. In our way back to the city center, we crossed the river again and went in front of the market. We'd save the market experience for Sunday morning. We didnt' go inside but stopped next to lady with plastic bottles with colorful water...
Nathan was intrigued when the lady said she was selling flower water. She started to promote her products and their benefits. Well, this was something I wouldn't have done: Nathan bought a bottle of this water. That is hard core! I guess this was also in order to get a picture with the lady and all the bottles, since I don't consider it that safe to be drinking this. But while we were walking down to the main square, he started to drink it.
San Francisco Convent
I gave him a look and he said: "Actually, it's not that bad and I'm thirsty!" One of the ends of the main street in the city is a square where the beautiful church & convent of San Francisco are located. Very nice buildings. Walking down the streets I noticed Huancavelica has nice balconies, but they are not well maintained, how sad. I like the fact that most of the buildings kept the old architecture, but there were a couple of new ones, which didn't match the landscape and even a bright blue disco, haha.
One of the things I've checked in the way to Huancavelica was the recommendations for restaurants and wanted to try at least one of them. It was right on the main street, sweet! And the guide book wasn't wrong, it was cozy and fun to see all the decor was about The Beatles, haha.
The Cathedral at the Main Square
What to drink when you are in highlands? The answer is so obvious: Coca Tea! To eat Nathan got the trout and I went for a hot Asparagus Soup. It might have been because it was very cold, but the soup was delicious and just what I needed. But I still had room for dessert :P Since it was about 4pm, they didn't have everything on the menu available. Not a big deal, we'd keep on walking and try to find something somewhere else.
After our tasty meal we reassumed our walking back to the hotel. We crossed the Main Square and decided to take a look to the gorgeous charming Cathedral. It was also open, so not going inside would have been terribly bad. I liked the fact most of the things were written in Spanish and Quechua - the local language. The Cathedral was breathtaking.
inside the Cathedral. It was forbidden to take a pic... but you can't say it to us
I do love the contrast of this lovely church, the high mountains and deep blue sky. Well, we left it in order to keep on looking for something sweet. We found a small cafeteria just about sweets and got our desserts, where I saw a dessert my mom used to make at home and decided to try it. This cost 1/4 of what I'd have paid in Lima, how cheap! And more important it was very good. This was the 1st time Nathan tried this dessert, hehe. Ok, now I was full and ready to go back to the hotel and take a nap, zzz. A nap is something very unusual for me, but since we took a night bus, it made sense to get some sleep. Also we wanted to be fresh for later.
After a good nap I woke up and decided to take a shower. IT'S FREEZING!!!! The girl said I should wait a moment for hot water, but nothing happened.
the stage in Asencion
.. I ended up showering with cold water. Note: when you are in highlands, having hot water is a MUST! Brrrr. So good I brought my alpaca sweater. It became my favorite. Well, we were ready to leave and go back to Asencion. In our way I saw a guy selling the "Super Clasico" a traditional dessert which consists in a bowl 1/2 rice pudding and 1/2 purple corn pudding. It was warm and so good, mmm. We started talking to him and he told us everybody should be in Asencion and we should head that way. Yep, that was our plan.
Once we arrived there, we noticed party has already started. After crossing small stands which have been turned in mini bars/pubs we reached the Main Square. Wow! this was big! There was a concert going on and so many people enjoying it. That guy was so right, everyone was here.
of course, eating, haha. Didn't think he took a pic
We didn't have dinner that evening, but tried several stuff that were on sale: a warm drink with rum and egg, picarones (sort of donuts), anticuchos and drank a beer. It was so cold, that you don't need to put the beer in the fridge, leaving it outside is enough to keep it cold, haha.
We have been talking about what to do the next day and we decided to visit a Camelid Investigation Center and since it wasn't that close, we hired a guy to drive us there. He'd come for us to the hotel at 6am. So going back early, packing our stuff and going to sleep sounded perfect. Tomorrow would be another long and fun day :)