We continued northwards towards the coast to Pisco. The home of the famous Pisco Sour, a popular cocktail made from Pisco, a clear spirit grape brandy. The recipe is 2 parts Pisco, 2 parts lime juice, whipped egg whites, crushed ice and a dash of bitters. We prefer it with lime juice or even mango juice and ice, lovely and refreshing after a hot and tiring day’s drive.
It’s hard to believe that grapes are grown in the Atacama desert where it never rains, but every now and again there are huge rivers flowing westwards from the Andes, which create wide fertile valleys where farming takes place. It reminded us of the Kakamas area on the Orange River where the biggest wine cellar in the Southern Hemisphere is found. The Breede river valley and the Olifants river valley in the arid West Coast are also examples of these oases that produce huge quantities of grapes.
Before arriving in Pisco we took a short cut to the coast to the Paracas National Reserve. Paracas means ‘sandstorm’ which can blow here for over three days in August. The resort town is protected from the afternoon wind by the peninsula which forms part of the Marine reserve in an area which houses one of the highest concentrations of marine birds in the world. Because of the afternoon wind it is also a very popular destination for Kite Surfers. We camped on the beach next to a kite surfing school and also a French couple with their baby camping in a Kombi. The wife was getting lessons from her kite surfing husband.
Our camping spot was also the home to Flamingoes!
The following morning before the winds we took a boat tour to the Islas Ballestas about 10 km offshore.
We’ve never encountered so many birds!! And seals, or sea lions as they are called here, living on these isolated and beautiful islands.
On the way we passed the Candelabro, a 50 m long pre Columbian candelabra etched on a hillside in the sand. We returned to Paracas and stayed another night on the beach.
Food for the soul. Another amazing day! Each country we taste is different and in some way more interesting.
We wake up some mornings and can’t believe that this is happening to us.
We had to restock and shopped in the local produce market.
Solveig even found a hat and colourful bags.
They had everything we needed. Great quality fresh fruit and vegetables at good prices. Even groceries you’d normally only get from a supermarket. We’ve never been short of aquiring any provisions.
We forgot to buy a fly swatter though! The flies seem to be immune to the various sprays we’ve used on them. Our only gripe about Peru is that rubbish is everywhere. The rubbish removal trucks just dump the bags outside the towns in the desert! There the vultures and flies do what they can to clean up. But being in the desert it will probably last forever. Packaging companies and supermarkets are to blame for most of the filth we encountered.
Buying loose items from produce markets makes for a lot less waste to deal with. Come on Simon, you’re in research at Nampak. Invent a new miracle packaging product that self destructs after its served it’s use.
Both Solveig and I are water people. We cannot be away from the sea or rivers for too long. The very long coastline of Chile, and now Peru suits us. Luckily, we were able to follow the coastline for a greater distance in Peru.
There were many small fishing villages we either dropped in at for coffee or a light snack and beer or we spent the night camping.
Trujillo was too large for us so we carried on to Huanchaca, a suburb, and wild camped on the beach. We were surrounded by various groups of revellers playing their music and dancing in the sand until way past 2am. A few of them even brought petrol generators to supply electricity for their sound systems. Luckily being in the music industry for so many years made it easier for Solveig and I.
We loved Huanchaca and decided to stay another night, but needed to have a hot shower so booked into the Huanchaca Gardens.
There was a couple from Germany with their motorhome which they had shipped from Europe and a couple from Holland staying in the chalets who came to South America each year.
While Michelle was safely parked for the day we took the opportunity to explore Trujillo.
We daringly took a local bus to town.
We just loved the colours. The buildings in the town square were so brightly painted…
We were nearing the end of our wonderful stay in Peru and continued northwards along the coast as much as we could. After Chiclayo we had to continue inland for a long way before coming back to the coast. The Atacama was changing, becoming flat and more Karoo like. A large river flowing strongly from the mountains had created an oasis in the desert which was hard to believe. The transformation was incredible. Rice paddies, sugar cane, bananas and palms!
Both are renowned surfing beaches. We stayed at Cabo Blanco between the two towns, in a shipyard on the beach next to an oil pump! The shipyard was guarded by a security guard. We slept safely and soundly even though there were hundreds of flies.
Tumbes, the last town in Peru before the Ecuador border. Another large town!
We found a special place just south at Zorittos, Les Tres Puntas, owned by Leo from Barcelona, one of our favorite cities in Europe. His sister who lives in Spain was visiting him. You could see the Gaudi influence everywhere!
What should have been a wonderful ending to our short time in earthy, soulful Peru was saddened by us receiving the devastating news that my Mother, Lorna Martin, had passed away peacefully just before her 91st. birthday. I thank You and Dad for my love of the outdoors and the wanderlust you stirred in me. Rest In Peace Mom.