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Having only had a day off, Jimmy was eager for me to stay longer, but I’d seen what I wanted to of the city, and had slept in plenty the day before so was well recovered. Leaving early however was a little hard, as when I tried to leave he insisted that we at least broke bread together, which featured a fair amount of chatting too. No problem, I didn’t have much of a goal. Just keep going and see where I got.

On the way, I went past a turn off to some Wari (culture that the Incan’s took power from) ruins, but the reviews I’d read hadn’t been so positive, and it was a 8km climb to get there, so onwards it was. I did however stop at one place along the way, Pikimachay – a cave that claims to be the first home of American man. That it might be, but it looks exactly like any other cave. There’s nothing touristic about it, the only reason you know it exists is the sign at the bottom of the hill, but there’s nothing by the way of structure, or even a sign explaining a bit of the history.

Shortly after visiting the cave, I was waved over by a group who were sat on the side of the road snacking. They were a group from a local rural community on the way to the Evangelical church service in Ayacucho, and were happy to share their food with me – boiled potatoes and cancha (toasted corn), the two principal food groups in Peru. Those who work in the field in Peru, eat plenty of cancha, preferably with cheese, but at least with water as it’s salty and very dry and you end up with a rather dry mouth otherwise.

There were a few short breaks along the way, but my legs felt good and so I just kept riding along the Rio Mantaro valley, which meant that generally it was flattish, although obviously not actually flat. I went past one town about an hour before the sunset, and had thought of staying there, but being down around 2000m it wasn’t going to get cold during the night, but would get hot the next afternoon, so I pushed on to avoid the heat. That kept me going until 9pm; 13 hours after I’d left Ayacucho that morning, and arrived in the town of Anco.

Before I could find the police station, I went past a group of men sharing a bottle of beer, Peruvian style (one glass, one bottle, goes in a circle, but you’ve got to turn the glass upside down before passing it so it’s empty) and was immediately invited to join in. It’s pretty fantastic. If I ever want to buy beer, I just walk past anyone drinking and they want to drink with me. I’ll miss that when I’m home 😀 After a couple of beers, I said my goodbyes and walked up to the police station, who directed me to the church, which was next door. The father answered the door, and welcomed me in, showing me my bed and a shower. Luxury. We chatted a while, as we shared fruit, but it was early to bed, as he gets up every day at 4am.

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