Days: 275-279 (27 March 2015-31 March 2015)
Total distance travelled: 53,744.5 kilometres (33,381.68 miles)
As we sat in a relatively modern coach (although the windows were a better temperature control than the air conditioner) I pondered the ridiculous.
Although during our time in Iquitos we’d had access to the internet and therefore the rest of the world, why did it only now feel that we were back amongst civilisation?
Now, after rousing ourselves far too close to the hour of 5am, a full day of travel (it was by now close to 7pm) found us in Chachapoyas.
This somewhat small, regional capital was set to be our base for a few days at least… a few days that would hopefully include excursions to Incan ruins as well as one of the highest waterfalls in the world!
But first, given our late arrival and lack of booking, our primary interest lay in simply finding a bed for the night, something we did, with an eye (or a nose) on finding something better the following morning given the horrendous smell that emanated from our adjoining bathroom.
An overcast morning was our welcome to the new day and this new city, and thankfully it didn’t require us much time at all to find a much better location to call home for a few days.
This new pad, Backpackers Chachapoyas, may not have offered us a private bathroom, but the shared ones it did possess were clean and devoid of smell! The place was spotless and owner/manager Jose was friendly, enthusiastic and ridiculously helpful.
With this matter sorted, it was time to arrange a few side trips and explore this oversized town they for some reason call a city.
Still, we shopped around and found ourselves a good price for a tour to Kuelap for the following day, a price we gave our lovely host (he also arranges tours from the hostel) the chance to match, but he was unable to do so.
Although not as overtly beautiful as many other colonial cities we’ve visited, our Lonely Planet guidebook did finally deliver us some stellar advice (it has been very hit and miss), and that was on the location of a most delicious cake shop.
Perhaps fortuitously (or should that read ‘in a scary turn of events’), it was in fact only metres from our hostel, and visits there became an afternoon ritual!
Our general meanderings between day excursions (three of which will be detailed in their own dedicated posts) did reveal to us something we’d not previously encountered.
Just off the main plaza sat a pedestrian only street, on which sat a small ice cream shop.
Always a place of interest, we perused the different flavours waiting for something to jump out at us… and something did.
That’s right, a beer flavoured ice cream!
With Semana Santa (Easter) fast approaching at weeks end, perhaps it was a fitting time to sample another possible miracle.
I mean we love beer… and we love ice cream…
So, how was it I hear you ask (well, we all know that’s a lie… unless you’ve taken the time to Skype me)?
At first it was odd… but at no point bad.
It did truly taste like the foamy head of a beer!
The more we consumed (perhaps out of fear, we’d only purchased one between us), the better it in fact got. The beer taste with the sweetness of the ice cream was slowly less and less confusing for our poor taste buds.
That said, unless it was for creativity, it probably isn’t going to be winning any awards anytime soon…
What was soon however was Easter, this the preceding week saw the locals celebrate (or is it commiserate, I never know) with countless parades, palm frond and candle waving, and plenty of mournful song.
Still, at least it was colourful.
With the approaching weekend of Semana Santa in mind, we had no desire to arrive at our next destination on Good Friday (if it’s anything like back home in Australia, much of the nation shuts down).
Thus, we left on the Thursday, making sure we arrived in Cajamarca with time enough to at the very least find ourselves a bed (we were also armed with a good recommendation from Jose).
It was a bus we’d share with an American couple from our hostel, Shannon and Brodie, but more on them later…
* A colectivo from Yurimaguas to Tarapoto cost us $15.00 Soles per person for roughly a two and a half hour journey.
* We took a bus with Universo from Tarapoto to Pedro Ruiz (there are several companies to choose from, this one seemed cheaper) for $35.00 Soles per person for a trip that eventually took around seven and half hours. Lunch was included in this price.
* A colectivo was required for the final leg from Pedro Ruiz to Chachapoyas at a cost of $5.00 Soles per person for the 45 minute ride.