Monday 29th July was a national holiday here in Peru. The whole weekend was pretty much like a bank holiday weekend back in the UK with lots of people heading off for a short break. I had already had a great weekend thanks to Sonia and her family treating me like an old friend or a member of their family. Amazing hospitality, which continued on Monday as Sonia and her daughter Diana, invited with me to go with them on a trip to Lunahuaná, a lovely little village almost 200 kms south of Lima and about 500m above sea level. It is situated beside the River Cañete, in the province of Cañete.What a great idea for a day out. Except it was not just a day. No doubt I misheard the invitation but I was totally unprepared for a night out. With, hindsight it was obvious. With the vagaries and complexities of travel in Peru (which I intend to cover in another post), getting there and back on the same day using public transport was always going to be unlikely. Although I have been here six weeks now, I have previously only travelled within the city and a short distance outside.
The day had a leisurely start to it anyway. After meeting up, we went to a restaurant for a typical Peruvian breakfast, which was like breakfast, lunch and perhaps a bit of dinner all combined.
Consisting of (I doubt that I will get this right), tamales, camotes, yuca, chicharrones and bread.
With coffee of course. Well set up for the day, let the journey commence.
A relatively short taxi ride then, to where we boarded an inter city type bus bound for San Vicente, which is the capital of the Cañete Province. According to statistics, 1,100 were killed and more than 2,500 injured, in road accidents in Perú during 2011. The population at that time was a bit less than 30 million. Not good. Easy to understand, though, when you witness the standard of driving.
The bus driver was shit. No other word adequately describes his driving. From using a mobile phone while driving, drinking from a bottle, searching for CDs with one hand on the wheel and no eyes on the road ahead, to driving at more than 80 kph in a 30kph limit and having the temerity to blast his horn at pedestrians trying to get out of the way. I desperately wanted to say something, as I was in the front seat and nearest to the driver. I kept quiet because I did not want to embarrass my travelling companions. It was not easy.
However, we did arrive safely and transferred to a micro ( I think that is the term for this particular size bus), for the remainder of the journey to Lunahuaná. About 30 kms of steadily improving scenery and weather. From the gloomy mist of Lima, which is an almost permanent feature at this time of year, to glorious sunshine. By now it was quite late in the afternoon but the sunshine was warm and the place was quite busy.
We had a stroll around the village and by now it was evident that I was completely, although not unusually these days, under-prepared. There was rafting, kayaking, there were quad bikes, a zip wire, abseiling, horse riding and more. I did not even have a change of clothes with me.
However, if you want a holiday where you don´t have to travel around too much to enjoy multi – activities, this could well be your destination. That does not mean that there will not be problems. On the contrary, but I will deal with that in the next post.
After some more strolling around we started looking for somewhere to stay the night. It being a holiday, the prices had all been jacked up. Nevertheless, we were only going to be staying one night, so basic and adequate would suffice.
We found a place with vacancies although I was not convinced immediately. The pool for example, was not exactly olympic size. It was heated however, if you had time to wait for the sun to get high enough.
The rooms also were a bit small, and the beds were outside. They were very comfortable though and I was soon asleep. Though not before we had been out to a bar for a drink. It was Sonia´s birthday after all. The 3 Pisco Sours ( a strong yet tasty alcoholic drink), may have played a part in assisting me sleep.