Lima to Cuzco (4) – Huancayo (3)

Tuesday 01/05

Isabelle feels better this morning.

We want to go to Hualhuas and San Jeronimo today. Lucho gave me a map showing the places to see in both villages and the walking path between them (see picture). He also explained to me where to take the ‘collectivo’ minibus to Hualhuas. The place seems awkward (at the intersection of 2 small streets) but as soon as we arrive there, a collectivo arrives. It’s nice to see the “real” Peruvian life of the Andes. We can see that life is not easy, especially for the elder people. I find it as poor and dirty as 25 years ago when I was traveling in South America. The homes and buildings are really awful.

We arrive in Hualhuas around 9:30am. The weather is not good today; it’s drizzling.

Thanks to Lucho, we have a small programme for the day. He indeed organizes an artisanal tour with his ‘Incas del Peru’ agency and, as mentioned, he gave me a map with the places to see.

We start with a visit of a weaving factory; quite interesting. We then walk to the main square (with the church) of the town. As per the Lonely Planet, there was supposed to be the daily market today in Hualhuas but locals tell us that it no longer happens.

We then walk (1 hour) to the other village, San Jeronimo, known for the silverware. On our way, we stop at a honey shop where the charming lady lets us tastes some of her products and gives us a lot of advice for our trip (tomorrow) to Huancavelica. We buy a jar of honey of course.

In San Jeronimo, there’s a small market on the main square. We buy 3 portions of pork meat; quite good actually. Florence doesn’t feel too well; she’s hungry. We go to a small restaurant (‘polleria’) to eat roast chicken with ‘papas fritas’. The restaurant is very popular, which is always a good sign.

We then try to find the “shop” of Señora Nelly Vasquez, which was recommended by Lucho. It is not easy to find since there’s no single sign. After asking around, we end up knocking at the right door. One of Nelly’s son shows us how they work the silver; very interesting. It’s nice to meet the real artisans, in their “workshop” (actually their house). We buy a few silver jewels for Isabelle and the girls.

We walk to the main road to take a collectivo back to Huancayo. We stop near the Plaza de la Constitucion and we then take a taxi back to the hostel, where the kids do 2 homeschooling sessions.

I continue organizing the logistics of the trip in Peru. All the nights are now booked for Peru; good!

Valérie informed us that she won’t join us in Cuzco for our trek to the Machu Picchu. We are disappointed; it would have been so nice.

At 7pm, we go and eat at a Chifa restaurant (the Peruvian Chinese restaurants) in the town centre: ‘Chifa Centro’. Quite ok.

We come back at 8:30pm in the hostel. We are still alone. Since our arrival, we’ve only seen one British girl and a German couple. The place is clean but basic and it’s very cold inside the house. We don’t see anyone except a young lady in the morning, who prepares our breakfast.

Tomorrow, we have a train (to Huancavelica) at 6:30am! Since we can’t buy the tickets beforehand, we must be at the station by 5:45am…

I work until 10:30pm. I eventually start posting on the blog again.

I’m impressed by the kids. It’s not the easiest nor the funniest part of the trip for them – it’s cold, the hostel is basic, the food is not great, the weather is not very good… – but they still manage to be happy and to carry on with their homeschooling sessions (thanks also to the perseverance and the patience of Isabelle). They also show interest to the places we visit (such as the weaving and silverware workshops) and they enjoy the local markets. Well done!

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