Finally in Lima, I am enjoying a “Libanes sanguch” in a modern café in Miraflores, the neighborhood-to-be in Peru´s capital. It´s lunch time and the place is packed. Everyone around me gestures hectically and is dressed nicely, I am glad I changed from my pyjama pants into my jeans before leaving the 21h bus from Cusco.
While I am waiting for my next couchsurfing host to finish work and meet me, I quickly pass all stages of just another culture shock. I have a hard time believing that I spent the last week trekking and sharing a tent at -10º between green valleys, countless alpacas, snow-capped peaks, and blue lagoons.
A few days earlier my friend Jette and I had called up Hernan, a local guide who lives 2km outside of Tinqui, the start and end point of the Ausangate trek. Hernan doesn´t have email (yet) and solely relies on references to capture new customers, so we were lucky to find his phone number (984134098) published on Tripadvisor.
After a 3-hour-10-soles bus ride from Cusco Hernan picked us up at the main square of Tinqui. I was able to rent hiking poles and a warmer sleeping bag from him, and we agreed to to do a 7-day-tour around Ausangate with a detour to Rainbow Mountains.
(In retrospect, Ausangate incl. Rainbow Mountain can be trekked in 5 days).
Approaching Apu Ausangate, alpacas blocking the way
Rainbow Mountain from all angles.
As much as I enjoy being in the city and all the comfort that comes with it, it´s escapes to nature like this one that make my RTW trip truly inspiring. After two chilly months in South America I am craving the heat and tropical climate, but I still haven´t had my share of trekking in Peru. Next stop: Huaraz!