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  • Day22

    Huaraz, Peru

    May 1, 2018 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Huaraz is a hikers paradise. Back to the fresh mountain air and the altitude!

    Huaraz is situated in the Callejón de Huaylas valley at 3000m altitude so this was a bit of a shock to the system having been at sea level for just over a week. Even just walking 20 minutes from the bus station to the hostel with my big backpack was a struggle, even though the walk itself was mostly flat! The city is surrounded by Cordilleras Blancas and Huayhuash, hosting some 22 summits over 6000m with makes it the highest mountain range in the world outside the Himalayas. You can see why there’s some incredible hikes to be done around here.

    Virtually the whole city was flattened by an earthquake in 1970, so today most houses are single story but the city has rebounded to be an adventure capital in Peru. It’s hard to understand how so many people backpacking Peru seem to skip this northern part but at the same time I’m not complaining if it means less crowds in some incredible spots.

    I didn’t spend much time in Huaraz town itself, mostly using it as a jumping off point for various hikes in the region which I’ll write about in separate posts! It’s an interesting town though, being surrounded by stunning mountains and with a heavy market culture - anything from food, hiking gear, regular clothing, handmade alpaca clothing, bags, household items. You name it. We’d heard that Huaraz was one of the cheaper places to buy alpaca clothing so aside from the markets the town is relatively calm during the day, but for some reason seems to be swarming with people in the evenings, no matter what day it is. Street food stalls multiply, selling anything from empanadas to pizza by the slice.

    Speaking of food, I came across a few good spots - one being California Cafe which was just a sweet little cafe with a nice vibe and an extensive book and game collection, perfect for chilling out for a few hours.

    There’s also many Chinese restaurants in Peru, due to a large Chinese population here which dates back to the late 19th century when many Chinese were shipped over to work as labourers to fill the void after African slaves were liberated. Many of these immigrants died due to poor working conditions and treatment, but those who survived eventually managed to escape their employers and make businesses of their own - mostly in the form of restaurants. These days Chinese food is somewhat mixed in with some of the Peruvian cuisine - one dish in particular being Lomo Saltado, which is sort of beef stirfry served with rice and bizarrely sometimes French fries too. Who knows how they came up with that combo?!

    Unfortunately I came down with a cold whilst in Huaraz, my usual cough back in full force and quickly making me the favourite in the dorm... but I pushed through it anyway and got amongst a couple of different day trips and a longer trek too. All to be revealed in upcoming posts!
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