Friday, June 25, 2010

Visitors and visiting

La Quinua, Vilcashuaman, Vischongo, Ica, Huacachina, PERU

When I arrived in Ayacucho at the end of March after seven months of travelling, I was happy to settle in one place and not get on another bus again for awhile. But in the last month I've happily gotten back into doing a bit of travelling by going on several trips to the areas surrounding Ayacucho.

First I did a nice hike in the surrounding mountains and when my fellow Competition Authority career breaker David visited Ayacucho we went to the small village of La Quinua and to the famous nearby site of the 1824 Battle of Ayacucho.
When Sally, an English girl who I travelled with in Argentina, came to visit, we hit for the nearby (four hours in a van on a dirt road through amazing scenery) mountain villages of Vilcashuman and Vischongo. There wasn't another tourist in sight, so we had the impressive Inca ruins (one right in the middle of Vilcashuman and one an hours hike up to a lake above Vischongo) all to ourselves.
Then last weekend I took the eight hour overnight bus to Ica and the desert oasis of Huacachina.As well as relaxing by the laguna staring at the amazing sand dunes, I also rode up the dunes in a buggy and then sandboarded down them - great fun.While I really enjoyed my latest trip away, which included a visit to the nature-filled Ballestas Islands (called by guidebooks as "the Poor Man's Galapagos "),I admit I was happy when I arrived back home to Ayacucho.