After doing our time in Lima, we hopped on a 7 hour bus ride to Huancayo. Located in the Mantaro Valley of the central highlands of Peru, this city has become our headquarters for the time being.
We arrived on New Years Eve to a massive party in the streets. Huancayo uses the color yellow the celebrate el Año Nuevo. From balloons, to hats, to streamers, to shirts, to big yellow underwear, the night markets specialized in anything dyed this special New Year’s hew.
After taking many photos on the streets, we settled into La Cabaña Restaurant. We ordered a plate full of meat and then danced the night away with our full bellies. As the bell tolled midnight, there were hugs, kisses, and a lady that kept shoving confetti down Amanda’s shirt. Our hotel room is still littered with small yellow dots of paper. We had a blast. We awoke late on the 1st to find the party was indeed over.
In the last three days we have done three separate day trips to various towns. Our list includes Changos Bajo, Aco, Mito, Jauja, and the Inca ruins of Tunanmarca. This ancient town was once home to about 3000 Incas more than 1300 years ago. Their circular huts of stone have withstood the elements remarkably well.
The Mantaro Valley is a very tranquil place. During the summer months the heavy rains support the agricultural community. The hills are full of color and life as Peruvians tend to the land that has been harvested since their ancestors arrived in the seventh century. It is very easy to strike up a conversation with these friendly farmers. Though they have very little, they are always willing to give. Amanda and I hiked back in time through miles and miles of lush potato farms surrounded by groves of eucalyptus trees and Inca ruins. The Andes rise violently on all sides of us. Small, run down villages centered around a Catholic Church house many culture-filled lives filled with history.
After finishing our hike through the ruins we stumbled upon a party. It was a coming of age party for 4 beautiful Peruvian women in their late teens.
We danced, ate, and enjoyed visiting the home of this Peruvian family. Their hospitality and generosity is truly honorable. They brought us to their home, let us dance with their women, and fed us some amazing cuisine – and all we had to offer was a smile and a laugh. This was a truly memorable experience.
We finished our hike today, Jan 3rd with a New Year’s fiesta in the town of Mito. Please allow the picture to do the talking for this event.
Amanda’s camera has been snapping away. We are not sure where we will journey next, but we have fallen in love with Huancayo and its surrounding villages. We have only seen 2 other gringos in the last 4 days and have not spoken English to anyone but each other since we left Lima. My rusty Spanish is improving quickly as it is truly the only way to communicate.
We still miss home and wish everyone a very wonderful 2008 filled with health, wealth, and love. Until next time, Adios.