Wednesday 02/05 (1/2)
Vlog by Jules (for the whole Wednesday, i.e. for this post and the next one): see below.
It’s Ludivine’s birthday today. 15 years old!
We wake up at 5am. Quick showers.
We take a taxi to the Chilca train station. There are already few people in the station, waiting for the train to Huancavelica; this train only runs twice a week. I buy the tickets; I can choose between the ‘primera classe’ (9 sol) and the ‘buffet classe’ (13 sol). The buffet class is apparently more comfortable, with padded seats. I don’t hesitate long…
I’m quite excited about this train journey to Huancavelica. As per the guidebook (the Lonely Planet, as often), the real draw of this rain is that it is used by locals (as opposed to just tourists, like the one we took from Lima to Huancayo).
The train departs on time. As expected, there are only locals (except 2 other tourists).
The rail follows the Mantaro river. It’s in the valley and until the sun starts shining (around 8:30am), it’s rather cold. Kids have their fluffy blankets on them. We encounter views of breathtaking ravines, deep canyons, spectacular landscape of the highlands and jungle. The train stops in several stations. At each stop, vendors come up to the wagons selling corn and cheese, potatoes and cheese, bizcochuelos (sponge cakes), local drinks and other local snacks and delicacies.
The Huancayo – Huancavelica railway is one of the highest railways in the world. It is between 3,680m at its highest point, at Huancavelica Station, and 2,820m at its lowest point. The railway is 128 kilometers and in its route we pass through 38 tunnels and 15 bridges. It connects several small communities that are very difficult to access by any other means.
The experience is very nice and the scenery is beautiful, very green. Photo opportunities abound and I can also take pictures from the (open) end door of the train. We don’t stop much (maybe 5-6 times). The journey is much more enjoyable than the trip from Lima to Huancayo last week. First of all, we don’t suffer from the ‘altitude’ sickness (we still go from 3,250m to 3,700m though). Secondly, the scenery is much better and thirdly we travel with locals i.e. plenty of colours and many food vendors (when we stop, they take the train for one stop).
In the train we play a few rounds of ‘Loup Garou’ and Jules does a homeschooling session with Isabelle.