We wake up at 6:45am. Our minibus to Andahuaylas departs at 8am.
We first take a breakfast. It was supposed to be ready by 7am but by 7:30am there’s still no hot water. Isabelle takes a taxi with Jules, with all the luggage, to the minibus departure point. The girls and I follow, on foot.
The minibus departs nearly on time but comes back after 15’ at the same place, to take a late passenger…
The trip is nice: the road is in good condition, the bus is comfortable, Isabelle and I can enjoy the nice views from our front seats, there’s hardly a few other vehicles on the road and Jules is not sick (he took a medicine that we bought yesterday).
We arrive in Andahuaylas around 1pm. Ludivine realizes that she forgot her fluffy blanket at the hotel in Ayacucho. We call the hotel to ask them to bring it to the minibus terminal and we organize with our (nice) driver that the next minibus between Ayacucho and Andahuaylas brings the blanket. Written like this, it seems easy but in Spanish (and partly on the phone) it’s not…
We take 2 tuk-tuk taxis to our hotel (Hotel Conquistadores), where I booked a double room (with 2 single beds) and a triple room. The hotel is correct.
We are hungry; it’s already 2:30pm. It’s Sunday so many of the nearby restaurants (in fact all except the ‘chifa’ ones) are closed. The owner of the hotel recommends us a restaurant. We trust him and take a tuk-tuk to the restaurant. We all squeeze up into one tuk-tuk!
It’s not very close (5-10’) from the centre. But it’s a lovely place, very quiet, with nice waiters. It seems to be a popular place for a family Sunday lunch. We are lucky we arrive late (3pm) since the singer (with an awful and loud voice) is finishing his show.
We order trouts, chicken and… guinea pig (‘cuy’). It’s the first time I order such animal, which is an Andean favorite that carries historical and regional importance. It’s part of the local culinary repertoire since pre-inca times. Cuy is seen as a true delicacy, so much so that in many indigenous interpretations of ‘The Last Supper’, Jesus and his disciples are sitting down to a hearty final feast of roast cuy… I remember that I never wanted to try it when I travelled in Ecuador (some 25 years ago). It is not very appetizing in the plate and definitely not easy to eat (the waitress kindly comes and asks me if I want them to “cut” it in the kitchen, which I quickly accepted). There’s very little to eat (although they offer also half-portion), but this is probably because I don’t eat the skin, which the locals like. It is considered a gourmet meal; it’s true that the (few) good parts are good (a bit similar to rabbit).
It’s already 4pm when we finish our lunch. We take a (normal) taxi to go to the Feria (the Sunday market), in the town centre. It’s a very nice market, surely one of the nicest ones of our trip. It’s very much local, with all the products you can imagine. Jules is telling me “but in fact it’s their supermarket”. Yes, it is. I’m happy that the kids seem to enjoy the markets. In the local markets, girls like to have some money to buy what they want (usually nuts, vegetables or fruits), Jules stay with Isabelle and I take pictures. This time, we buy nuts, a coconut and a bag for Jules’ fluffy blanket. We also eat some good strawberries. Around 6pm, the market starts closing and we go back to the hotel. We chill a bit. My computer doesn’t connect to the wi-fi networks anymore; I hope it’s only temporary. I can’t do much without wi-fi connection (and I have already more than 3-week delay in the blog).
We are not hungry but we force ourselves to go and eat something not too late (at 8pm) since we have to wake up at 4:40am tomorrow to catch the bus to Abancay at 5:30am. Abancay is our last stop before Cusco, where we’ll stay 25 days, starting with a one-week stay in an Airbnb (which will be good after 10 days of (relatively) tough itinerant travel from Lima. In fact we may not even stop in Abancay (my booking on booking.com is anyway cancellable without fee until 6pm the same day, which is rather unusual). Indeed: the journey from Andahuaylas from Abancay is much shorter than I thought (3 hours vs. 6 hours) and we could thus take a bus from Abancay to Cusco right after arriving in Abancay, and thus arrive in Cusco in the afternoon and go directly to our Airbnb (I checked with the owners and the apartment is available the day before our normal stay). Now, why do we take such an early (mini)bus to Abancay tomorrow morning? Because we’ve been told upon arrival at the bus terminal that there would be a peasant’s strike tomorrow. They will block the roads to Cusco from 8am so we need to leave earlier if we want to avoid being stuck in this town (they told us that they didn’t know how long the strike could last…).
So we go to a very nearly restaurant (a trattoria / pizzeria; yes, like yesterday but as I said we are not hungry and we want to be back quickly to sleep early). Nice and warm atmosphere. We are not the best clients tonight: we take a (medium) pizza and a dish of pasta for the 5 of us.
Afterwards, Isabelle and I walk to the bus terminal to get the blanket of Ludivine. The terminal is unfortunately closed and the guard is not allowed to open the door for us.
Walking back to the hotel, we see an ‘Eco Bus’ office (the company from which we bought our tickets for tomorrow trip to Abancay) and we stop to ask them where the bus leaves from. They say that it leaves from this office… It’s good that we stopped there; we would indeed have gone to the bus terminal where we bought the tickets earlier on.
We don’t work very late tonight. I work till 10:30pm.
Monday 07/05 (1/2)
It’s tough to wake up this morning. 4:40am!
We go on foot to the departure point of our minibus (down the street); it’s still dark.
I go to the bus terminal with Ludivine to get her blanket. There’s no one attending the office of the transportation company. Like burglars, we use our flashlights to try to find the blanket in the storage room but with no avail.
Our minibus to Abancay departs more or less on time (5:30am).
Good road until Abancay (3 hours). Apparently, the road is quite recent (3 years). We arrive at the bus terminal of Abancay at around 8:45am. We decide to try to find directly a bus to Cuzco. It apparently takes 5 hours so we could be there early afternoon. Good!
There are different buses leaving to Cuzco. We take one leaving in 45′, so we have the time to buy some food for the journey (chicken with rice for lunch, bananas, chips, biscuits…). Before the departure, we eat our lunch, in the bus, at 9:30am….
The bus is ok and the road is good but for the first part (half) it turns all the time (there’s hardly no straight part longer than 100m…).
We hardly stop 2 times 10’ during this 5-hour journey.