I woke up with a slight headache around 7:30, glad that Cesar hadn’t come to wake me up at 4am as he’d promised. He had mentioned that the best Peruvian food is Caldo de Gallina (chicken noodle soup) at 4am, with the second best being Caldo de Gallina at 5am. We went out for breakfast, of the above-mentioned soup, but at a much more reasonable time of 10am. Edgar, and Cesar in particular, were quite insistent that I stay until the weekend, so I could go to their re-union – the joke of asking me what graduation I was from was still going strong without the influence of alcohol – but I made my excuses and kept onwards. I’ve got a bit of a tight schedule to get to Quito as is, and having made a provisional idea of a calendar I couldn’t really stay. Also, I’m not sure what I’d have done to entertain myself for 4 days, I think saying that I was from the class of 71 might have got a little repetitive by the 3rd day.
Most of the first hour was spent descending the rest of the way into the valley, followed by about 15-20km of almost flat ground – a miracle. This of course meant that I then got a 4-hour climb up the valley, listening to my Dark Tower audiobooks – a fantastically enjoyable Stephen King series that I’m 3 books into.
I made it to the town of Ocros before the sun went down, and had to stop there. I still had time, but apparently there was just ‘silencio’ ahead, and at least another 3 hours of climbing to the top. There was a beautiful view of the full moon rising from where I’d come from, and then into town to find a place to sleep. The police were busy watching the football when I arrived, but had no problem showing me to a room upstairs that I was definitely allowed to stay in. I got myself organised, and then headed out to a local school that seemed rather busy. There was a festival going on, with students from all grades dressed up, dancing to traditional music. It was held in the playground of the school, but with minimal control, so those dancing often had dogs running through the middle, and the odd small child too.