I´m out of breath from walking up the stairs, the only sign of how high up we are in the Andes and I´m thankful I´ve managed to escape any other signs of altitude sickness.
We took a long 8 hour bus journey yesterday up through the Andes yesterday on snaking winding roads. The scenery was incredible. We passed tiny stone houses where famalies tended to their land and their livestock. Old women dressed in traditional Highland dress sat at their doorsteps with broad brimmed hats and colourful blankets used to carry food or childresn strapped to their backs. The bus went through Ancash which is particularly beautiful.
We are now about to eat breakfast in our gorgeous hostel, definitely the nicest one I´ve stayed in Peru so far, called Olaza´s in Huaraz. It´s almost 7am and in an hour we will be pilling into a combi bus to go to a lake further north and higher up still. The lake takes about 3 hours to walk around and apparently we will meet women tending to alpachas and their young. Later we are going to the markets which I am overly excited about. I am desperate to buy some traditional Peruvian Highland wear, not the tourist nonsence we find in the markets all over Lima. I have been very restrained up until now, knowing that I want to get the most out of the markets here and also to pay the people directly who are the real deal. Women on the street with bags of knitwear sitting knitting more. Each one finished placed in the bag for locals to buy.
Last night Issy, Megan and I made ratatoullie and baked sweet potatos with cheese. It was so nice to cook together and feed all seven Platform2 troops. We sat and ate altogether round a huge log fire and finished the vening with hot chocolate from Cusco. The leftovers will make two large pizzas for tonights dinner followed by more hot chocolate round the fire. I have wireless here so I am going to download some Christmas songs on to my iPod.
Hopefully we´ll feel more Christmassy. It doesn´t feel like Christmas at all here but the cold weather in Huaraz and shopping for presents is certainly helping.
Tomorrow morning we are getting a taxi to Rataquenua, the highest point in Huaraz, that over looks the village and the mountains. Apparently you get spectacular panoramoic views. It´s making me sick with anger that I lost my camera. I have kept my eyes open for the same model but keep finding cheaper Lumix models that I don´t want. A hard lesson to learn.