andes Ayacucho Peru South America

Laguna de Choclococha and other adventures

Laguna de Choclococha was my idea and I was close to abandon it when the locals told us that the only bus that goes in its direction leaves at 3am…How come there isn’t any other way to get there, it is situated on the main road leading to Ayacucho?! Stephan remained more optimistic and we decided to put this matter off until the next day, this is when the idea of hitchhiking was born…It was sheer luck, we managed to find una “empresa” that goes in that way and leaves Huancavelica at 1pm on Sunday. It gave us some free time to have a walk in Huancavelica, a land full of contrasts, considered the poorest town in Peru but still there was an enormous modern stadium dominating the city from the upper side of the surrounding mountains, one of the most developed clinics in the country owned by German surgeons and a progressive, empty bus station where we waited for the “bus”- a car for 6 people, it was so funny to travel with Peruvian grannys, they are always so well-dressed, having well-styled hair.

According to the map, Laguna de Choclococha was situated near a small town called Santa Ines and was supposed to be a one- hour walk from the lake so we asked the driver to stop near the lake. As the locals said it was a “puro campo”, there was not anyone really, only a curious dog coming from nowhere following us for a while.

It was sunny, quite hot but very windy. We took some photos and then it all began…We saw 3 big dogs running towards us and barking as if they were rabid. I was scared stiff and we quickened our pace. Then, oddly enough, the dogs stopped running but continued barking. We quickly understood why…that’s because we just got caught in quicksand in the middle of a mudflat…and I don’t exactly remember how we managed to get out of it because it all happened so fast but the quicksand zone was not very deep…I know that I shouldn’t panic when I fall into quicksand but let’s be honest, it’s a moment of a mad panic, for the first time, I think, I feared for my life and I’ll never forget that horrible feeling.
So we carried on walking and watched where we were putting our feet. I just wanted to go up and keep on following the main road but as we were high up, every step was tiresome, walking was difficult, I was scant of breath and it took us some time to get back to the road. Then, all of a sudden, the rain and the hailstorm came, it was freezing cold and no cars drove by. Generally, I’m a very optimistic person but I gave up hope of ending up in a warm place very quickly. It would have been too good to be true…
I don’t remember either how long we walked but it seemed very long and in the end, a nice Peruvian couple drove us to Santa Ines– about 30 minutes driving would be a three-hour walk I guess! It stopped raining for a while and then it started to lash down and to snow. That Peruvian couple left us in a small, empty restaurant, miles from nowhere. I was trembling with cold, we ordered mate de coca and the trucha (trout from the Laguna) I ate was the best trucha ever, I was so hungry.
Puente de Rumichaca was going to be the next stop. We also waited a lot, almost no cars would drive by Santa Ines because we found ourselves in a literal middle of nowhere. But we eventually did it, arrived in Rumichaca at 5pm. All seemed to be simple then, everyone would head in the direction of Ayacucho…the only problem is that there was not anybody on the road…a nice Peruvian family stayed with us a little and informed that there was a bus going to Ayacucho at 6pm, we managed to get it but at 8pm…
Trying not to lose my temper…under a hailstorm, we just put some good music on and waited for a miracle to happen
Few minutes after 8pm we caught a bus, there was no room for 2 people really so we were squashed like sardines… but felt so uplifted, we were going to arrive in Ayacucho at 10pm. Mission Acomplished…
In Ayacucho, we met Aldo, a friend from Lima and went out to celebrate the day full of adventures. It took some time for me to realize that it was going to be one of the best travel experiences ever happened to me, the day I’ll never forget :)

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