Given the topic of last week’s post I guess it might not be too much of a surprise to discover that I’m often unsure which part of travelling I enjoy the most: the journey itself or the exploration of a new destination that comes at the end of it. Most people, I’m sure, wouldn’t give my conundrum a second thought, but it is one I was reminded of this past week as I escaped the dry heat of Trujillo (‘The City of Eternal Spring’, remember) to head inland and up towards the cooler climes of the Andean foothills.
My destination was Huamachuco, a small city of about 50,000 people that at 3200m (10,000 feet) sits nestled in-between the eastern and western cordillera of the Andes. Although unlikely to be on the to-do lists of many visitors to Peru, the nearby pre-Incan ruins of Marcahuamachuco (known as the “Machu Picchu of the North”), and the fact that it is only a four hour drive from Trujillo, meant that for me it seemed like a relatively a decent spot for a short break.
Leaving midday at Sunday we sped effortlessly out of a traffic-less Trujillo and into the lifeless terrain that surrounds it; the beige scorched earth that dominates the northern coastal regions is congruous with the inland hills, which at first glance resemble rudimentary sandcastles.
Further inland though, the land becomes flushed with health, as barren desert becomes slopes of luscious green upon which terraced farms cling desperately in order to extract every last drop of goodness from the soil.
Andy in the Andes
Coming from the Northern Hemisphere it still feels a little strange that I should be enjoying summer between the months of December and February. Frankly, given that I from the UK it feels strange to be enjoying summertime at all.
30 degrees at Christmas? Jumping into the sea to celebrate the New Year? What’s that all about?
This time of the year should all be about bleakness: horrific weather; short, dark days (sunset at 3.30pm anyone?); no more holidays until Easter; Celebrity Big Brother, etc.
Remarkably, the only other time I’ve spent Christmas away from the UK was when I was travelling in 2007. My buddy and I headed to the beach in Uruguay anticipating sun we instead found British rain, wind and cloud cover. Bloody typical.
British Christmas in Punta del Este (2007).
Anyway, summer holidays during (my) winter have become just another life adjustment now. Besides, summer in São Paulo is basically all year round anyway, apart from May which is just thoroughly mild. Continue Reading
After schmoozing with Brazilian celebs last week my wife and I decided that we (I) deserved a hard-earned break somewhere far away from São Paulo. Somewhere where people wouldn’t recognise me in the street.
And so we took advantage of the long holiday weekend to travel down to Foz do Iguaçu in the south-west of Brazil.
Map copyright PlanetWare.com
From Foz, which is close to both the borders of Paraguay and Argentina, you can visit the extraordinary Iguaçu Falls – we intended to view them from both Argentina and Brazil.
However, this is South America so, you know, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.
Saturday was lost to an epic storm whilst Sunday was even more disastrous. At the entrance to the Argentinian side they wouldn’t accept Brazilian Reais or payments by card. Then, the ATM wouldn’t give us any money.
Frustrated, we crossed back over the border and instead went to the Brazilian side where they accepted Reais, Argentinian Pesos, Dollars, payments by card and even bloody Euros.
Brazilian inefficiency? Who would dare ever speak of such a thing? Pah!
And the view wasn’t too bad either. Continue Reading