From Vilcabamba in Ecuador I had to do again a lot of climbing till I reached the border of Peru. Although I’m now at less than 750m altitude it never goes down straight in the Andes. Even on the “easy” days I collect more than 1000m of elevation gain and 2000m has become the average here.
The scenery since Peru is a complete contrast to what I experienced the last days and weeks in Ecuador. On my first day in Peru I was cycling past coffee and cacao plants again. In the villages you can often sense a sour smell of the fermenting coffee beans. Almost everybody seems to have a little plantation here and dries the crop in front of his house. When I got even further down to below 1000m altitude the coffee plants disappear and the people grow rice instead. The floated rice terraces with palm trees and mountains in the background make you actually think you’re somewhere in Southeast Asia – but the people here still speak Spanish. And they are super friendly. Kids are playing on the street and get euphoric when you cycle past them. They give me high fives and shout “Gringo, Gringo” but in such a kind and nice way that I can answer it with a smile.
Next stop is Cajamarca which is still at least three days of cycling ahead of me. With a heavy heart I decided to skip Chachapoyas and take the direct route in order to “save” some time and energy for the other highlights in the Peruvian Andes to come.