As we stopped to eat lunch at the top of our third and hardest pass yet we saw a few cows as well as a smiling traditionally dressed lady in her thirties coming up and over the other side. She was obviously surprised to see us “gringos” on this rarely used rocky mountainous road, and animatedly began asking us questions in Qetchwa. Once we explained that we only spoke Spanish, she smiled and then waved us over, motioning for us to bring over one of our plates to where she was opening up the large colorful blanket she carries as a bag on her back. She then scooped three huge scoops of, well, who knows what, from a steaming bucket full of white potato/quinoa/unknown grain/milk mush into our bowl before swinging her blanket back over her back in order to follow her cows back down the mountainside. Welcome to the Great Peruvian Divide; a network of small rocky roads which connect rural villages throughout the Andes where smiling toothless villagers stop to encourage you along your way as you fight for every kilometer as it’s always uphill.
“It was amazing how you could get so far from where you’d planned, and yet find it was exactly were you needed to be.”
That’s right, instead of making our way through Europe as we had originally planned, I just bought two flights out to Buenos Aires where we will begin our year long adventure through the Andes! (When I told my best friend that on a complete whim only hours after first voicing the itinerary change idea I bought the tickets, she responded with “classic shi move!” so, as you can see, changing plans just seems to be what I do best). We have many reasons for this drastic itinerary change, some of which I will cover below, but first off, a huge thank you is in order. I was able to buy these two plane tickets with the money I have earned along the way from writing for another blog as well as the money people have donated throughout my trip in support of this blog. So, a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me out because without you flying to a whole new continent wouldn’t have even been on the table. In return, I promise to deliver as many beautiful pictures and cultural stories I can once we arrive, and trust me, cycling through those gorgeous mountains is bound to bring a whole lot of adventure!