Friday 14 August 2015

Local colour

The nice thing about today's hike along the Lares Valley was all the encounters with colourful locals. In fact, the whole day was like that, from our visit to the small town of Calca where, in the market, a rooster was crowing fit to bust from inside a bag and the ladies at the meat counter had fun holding up beef muzzles and making them talk. (Not so much fun for the cows.)

At Ancasmarca we visited a site of pre-Incan colcas, or food stores which were impressive but not as much as the surroundings of peaks, glaciers and valley below. We were also much taken by the friendly dog who trailed us round.

Then came Lares Pass at 4461m, cold and snowy with zigzag roads either side; and lunch in a small town where chickens and dogs wandered around the square and women gathered in small groups, gossiping, all wearing bright traditional clothing from head to sandalled toe.

Then began the hike - 3 hours of heavy breathing and pounding hearts, with lots of breaks for admiring the scenery. The animals helped: llamas laden and not, alpacas, horses, mules, donkeys and sheep.

Also kids: cute and shy, in bright clothes, grubby but lively, wandering the pastures with dogs and pups and not too afraid to accept gifts of snacks.

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