To Huaraz: an Englishman, a German, 2 Bikes and 36 Tunnels

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Deciding not to push on to Cajamarca proved to be a blessing in disguise when Miguel, noticing my beleaguered state, offered me a discounted room at his Tetem Backpackers. He proved to be an absolute mensch and the place, with its huge rooms and heated pool was the perfect place to spend a day off. If you’re in the area check it out!

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Me and Miguel’s son, Angel. Kid has an impressive collection of Pokemon cards.
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The water is naturally heated, pumped from the local hot springs from which the town, Banos del Inca, gets its name.
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His pup kept stealing my socks, resulting in repeated Benny Hill chases around the pool.

I had hoped to pay a visit to Cajamarca but I still wasn’t feeling great so spent most the following day in bed watching bad football streams and Twin Peaks. Gone were the nausea and vomit, leaving in their wake a churning stomach and more gas than a Theresa May speech (wheeeeey!). On departing Banos del Inca I need not have pedalled, such were the strength and frequency of my farts. This extra propulsion lasted for over a week as I meandered my way south towards Huaraz, gradually building up my mileage as I returned to health. What followed was an odyssey through a variety of climes and landscapes that encapsulated much of what Peru has to offer.

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Rolling green hills. Check.
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Pretty little churches. Check.
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Countless pigs, cows and sheep tethered to posts on the roadside. Check.
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Supersize native hats. Check.
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One horse towns… Check
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…with inventive names. Check
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Huamachuco impressed with its massive, topiary filled plaza de armas…
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…and huge gates.
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Heading off road for a few days I passed quarries…
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…some decent views…
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…colourful mountain schools…
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…and even more colourful graveyards.
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Chatty old men in Mollepata “England? Aren’t you at war with Argentina?”   “How are the Peruvian girls in bed?”
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The road to Pallasca had a ludicrous number of switchbacks down…
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…then back up again.
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From Pallasca I headed down into another huge desert gorge…
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…camping in riverside cave constructs.
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…where I bumped into Philipp from Germany who has boated and biked his way from Gibraltar via Cape Verde, Santa Lucia and Panama.
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We travelled together for a few days, camping under the stars and playing guitar round the campfire…
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… before passing through the Canon del Pato (aka. Duck Canyon)…
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…a canyon road with 36 narrow tunnels.
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Out of the canyon, the Cordillera Blanca  started to peek at us…
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…in spectacular fashion.
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And after 11 straight days on the road we arrived in Huaraz…
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…where we were assailed by this little guy…
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…who was determined to destroy my camera…
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…amd indulged in a few of the things we’d been missing.
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Mmmm…

Tunes: Lots of the Joe Rogan Podcast, Weezer – Pinkerton, Saves The Day – Stay What You Are, The Strokes – Future Present, Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica

Reads: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson, The Stand – Stephen King, A Walk In The Woods  – Bill Bryson, Decline of The British Murder – George Orwell, Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

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