Currently in Vienna, Austria
We found the smaller brothers of the Sulawesi patungs that I am so fond of!
This Recuay Monolith (200-800 BC) is holding two little bears. The photo is of a replica on the streets of Huaraz but there is also a photo of the original monolith among other pics from The Archeology Museum of Ancash.
Our next destination is Cordillera Huayhuash, 10 day trek. We are watching the weather over the mountains...
Goodby La Paz
We are catching today a bus to Lima (30 hours), Peru, and then Huaraz same day.
The sleeping bag I got in a store in La Paz says ¨US Army¨ and its topknot hardly reaches my shoulders, so I guess this belongs to a division of midgets that the US army keeps top secret. I can fit only with my knees bent. The tent we bought is for 4 people and Juri`s feet stick out - he reminds me of Gulliver. But the size of the salad in one of the restaurants got the cookie.
Weather is changing. In the mids of the dry season in Bolivia we are subjected to snow, rain, hail and fog that makes you wet to the bone. After 5 days pitching and folding the wet tent looks like a rag. Day after day we climbed frozen and snowy passes and came down to sleep in damp valleys with peaks enfolded in clouds all the time. Dynamic ever changing skies with all kind of high, low and crawling around us clouds. The forecast for Bolivia is not existing (gismeteo.com, mountain-forecast.com are useless). On La Cumbre ( the highest point) of the road to La Paz, there is station where we spent the night when a heavy snow caught up with us, two shifts are paid to measure morning and evening readings for temperature, snow, rain, clouds, wind, and the numbers are diligently scribbled on a sheet of paper pinned to a cork board. When I asked if they call the numbers daily to someone the guy in charge (Toribio) told me ¨que lastima¨ (too bad) they don't have radio station or a phone so the tables go somewhere at the end of the month, maybe in the Museum of Coca.
Tent is pitched at 3800m, and the the clouds are coming from below. The break is not enough for Juri to finish his cigarette and seconds later he and the shoes are inside and the tent zipped.
Bolivia is a land of strong sun and cold shadows. You are always going either up or down, nothing in the middle. Cordillera Real (Bolivia) is a preparation for Cordillera Blanca (Peru). Traversing ridges always puts me in a pensive mode - more walking, less talking, but the mind follows its emotional landscape. The parallel is that life at every point should be a preparation for something greater, harder, higher. Even going to the highest peak doesn´t mean it´s the end of the road. If there is no higher peak then one can always make it for a better time, harsher weather, or with less luggage on the back and in the head. We are currently traversing Cohoni - Sorata on and off. On La Cumbre a snow storm caught up with us so we improvised going down on a very popular trek - the precolumbino camino El Choro which drops 4000m in 2 days - see pics below which are made in two consequitive days. On the first one I´m freezing my butt on La Cumbre, and on the second one we are chilling out with a beer in a tent pitched on a improvised football field.
We are now back to La Paz to add 30 more days to my visa, and then going up to Illampu - the north circle of the traverse.
Some personal discoveries (not sure if they can be of any use for you):